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Luc. What are you mad, that you do reason so ?
That's my sister. Ant. S.
i. e. I, like an insect, will take thy bosom for a rose, or some other flower, and
phænix like beneath thine eye “ Involv'd in fragrance, burn and die." It is common for Shakspeare to shift hastily from one image to another.
Mr. Edwards's conjecture may, however, receive countenance from the following passage in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I, sc. ii :
my bosom as a bed “ Shall lodge thee.” Mr. Malone also thinks that bed is fully supported by the word lie. Steevens.
1 Let love, being light, be drowned if she sink!] Mr. Ritson observes, that Love, in the present instance, means Venus. Thus, in the old ballad of The Spanish Lady:
“ I will spend my days in prayer,
“ Love and all her laws defy.” Steevens. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ Now for the love of love, and her soft hours." Again, more appositely, in our author's Venus and Adonis's
“Love is a spirit, all compact of fire,
“Not gross to sink, but light, and will aspire.” Venus is here speaking of herself. Again, ibidem :
“ She's love, she loves, and yet she is not lov’d.” Malone. 2 Not mad, but mated;] i. e. confounded. So, in Macbeth:
“My mind she has mated, and amaz'd my sight.” Steevens. I suspect there is a play upon words intended here. Mated signifies not only confounded, but matched with a wife: and Antiphalus, who had been challenged as a husband by Adriana, which he cannot account for, uses the word mated in both these
I should kick, being kick'd; and, being at that pass, You would keep from my heels, and beware of an ass. Ant. E. You are sad, signior Balthazar: 'Pray God,
our cheer May answer my good will, and your good welcome here. Bal. I hold your dainties cheap, sir, and your wel
come dear. Ant. E. O, signior Balthazar, either at flesh or fish, A table full of welcome makes scarce one dainty dish. Bal. Good meat, sir, is common; that every churl
affords. Ant. E. And welcome more common; for that 's no
thing but words. Bal. Small cheer, and great welcome, makes a merry
feast. Ant. E. Ay, to a niggardly host, and more sparing
guest: But though my cates be mean, take them in good part; Better cheer may you have, but not with better heart. But, soft; my door is lock’d; Go bid them let us in.
Dro. E. Maud, Bridget, Marian, Cicely, Gillian, Jen'! Dro. S. [within] Mome,5 malt-horse, capon, coxcomb,
idiot, patch! Either get thee from the door, or sit down at the hatch;
Mr. Theobald, instead of doth, reads-don't. Malone.
I do not think this emendation necessary. He first says, that his wrongs and blows prove him an ass; but immediately, with a correction of his former sentiment, such as may be hourly observed in conversation, he observes that, if he had been an ass, he should, when he was kicked, have kicked again. Johnson.
5 Mome,) A dull stupid blockhead, a stock, a post. This owes its original to the French word Mumon, which signifies the gaming at dice in masquerade, the custom and rule of which is,
that a strict silence is to be observed: whatever sum one stakes, another covers, but not a word is to be spoken. From hence also comes our word mum! for silence. Hawkins. So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:
“ Important are th' affairs we have in hand;
Brutus, forbear the presence.” Steevens. - patch! ] i. e. fool. Alluding to the parti-coloured coats worn by the licensed fools or jesters of the age. So, in Macbeth:
what soldiers, patch ?” See notes on A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III, sc. ï, and The Merchant of Venice, Act I, sc. i. Steevens.
Dost thou conjure for wenches, that thou call'st for such
store, When one is one too many? Go, get thee from the door. Dro. E. What patch is made our porter? My master
stays in the street. Dro. S. Let him walk from whence he came, lest he
catch cold on 's feet. Ant. E. Who talks within there? ho, open the door. Dro. S. Right, sir, I'll tell you when, an you 'll tell
me wherefore. Ant. E. Wherefore? for my dinner; I have not din'd
to-day. Dro. S. Nor to-day here you must not; come again,
when you may. Ant. E. What art thou, that keep’st me out from the
house I owe?? Dro. S. The porter for this time, șir, and my name
is Dromio. Dro. E. ( villain, thou hast stolen both mine office
and my name; The one ne'er got me credit, the other mickle blame. If thou had'st been Dromio to-day in my place, Thou would'st have chang'd thy face for a name, or thy
name for an ass. Luce. [within] What a coil is there! Dromio, who are
those at the gate? Dro. E. Let my master in, Luce. Luce,
Faith; he comes too late; And so tell your master. Dro. E.
O Lord, I must laugh: Have at you with a proverb.--Shall I set in my staff?
Luce. Have at you with another: that 's-When? can
Dro. S. If thy name be called Luce, Luce, thou hast
answer'd him well. Ant. E. Do you hear, you minion? you 'll let us in,
I hope ? 8
I owe?] i. e. I own, am owner of. So, in The Four Pren. tices of London, 1615:
" Who owes that shield?
“ I:-and who owes that?” Steevens. 8
I hope?] A line either preceding or following this has, I believe, been lost. Mr. Theobald and the subsequent editors
It is thyself, mine own self's better part;
Luc. All this my sister is, or else should be.
Ant. S. Call thyself sister, sweet, for I aim thee:5 Thee will I love, and with thee lead my life; Thou hast no husband yet, nor I no wife: Give me thy hand. Luc.
O, soft, sir, hold you still; I'll fetch my sister, to get her good will.
[Exit Luc. Enter, from the House of ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus,
DROMIO of Syracuse. Ant. S. Why, how now, Dromio? where run'st thou
Dro. S. Do you know me, sir? am I Dromio? am I your
man? am I myself? Ant. S. Thou art Dromio, thou art my man, thou art thyself.
Dro. S. I am an ass, I am a woman's man, and be sides myself.
Ant. S. What woman's man? and how besides thyself?
Dro. S. Marry, sir, besides myself, I am due to a woman; one that claims me, one that haunts me, one that will have me.
Ant. S. What claim lays she to thee?
4 My sole earth's heaven, and my heaven's claim.] When he calls the girl his only heaven on the earth, he utters the common cant of lovers. When he calls her his heaven's claim, I cannot understand him. Perhaps he means that which he asks of heaven.
Fuhnson. - for I aim thee:] The old copy has
- for I am thee. Some of the modern editors
I mean thee. Perhaps we should read:
for I aim thee. He has just told her, that she was his sweet hope's aim. So, in Orlando Furioso, 1594:
like Cassius, “Sits sadly dumping, aiming Cæsar's death." Again, in Drayton's Legend of Robert Duke of Normandy:
“I make my changes aim one certain end." Steevens.
your horse; and she would have me as a beast: not that, I being a beast, she would have me; but that she, being a very beastly creature, lays claim to me.
Ant. S. What is she?
Dro. S. A very reverent body; ay, such a one as a man may not speak of without he say, sir-reverence: I have but lean luck in the match, and yet is she a wondrous fat marriage.
Ant. S. How dost thou mean, a fat marriage?
Dro. S. Marry, sir, she's the kitchen-wench, and all grease; and I know not what use to put her to, but to make a lamp of her, and run from her by her own light. I warrant, her rags, and the tallow in them, will burn a Poland winter: if she lives till doomsday, she 'll burn a week longer than the whole world.
Ant. S. What complexion is she of?
Dro. S. Swart, like my shoe, but her face nothing like so clean kept; For why? she sweats, a man may go over shoes in the grime of it.
Ant. S. That's a fault that water will mend.
Dro. S. No, sir, 'tis in grain; Noah's flood could not do it.
Ant. S. What's hér name?
Dro. S. Nell, sir;-but her name and three quarters, that is, an ell and three quarters, will not measure her from hip to hip.?
Ant. S. Then she bears some breadth ?
Dro. S. No longer from head to foot, than from hip to hip: she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her.
Ant. S. In what part of her body stands Ireland?
6 Swart,] i. e. black, or rather of a dark brown.
Thus, in Milton's Comus, v. 436:
“No goblin, or swart fairy of the mine.” Again, in King Henry VI, P. I:
" And whereas I was black and swart before.” Steevens. q Dro. S. Nell, sir ;-but her name and three quarters, that is, an ell and three quarters, &c.] The old copy reads-her name is three quarters. Steevens.
This passage has hitherto lain as perplexed and unintelligible, as it is now easy and truly humorous. If a conundrum be restored, in setting it right, who can help it? I owe the correction to the sagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby. Theobald.