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for which he is immediately applauded by Biron. Indeed Biron's expression of evident delight at Boyet's words is inexplicable unless we can read into the " old mocker's" words an adequate reason for the commendation given them.
To understand the point of Boyet's commended jibe at Pompey in his, "With libbard's head on knee," we have to go back to Boyet's previous remark, "You lie, you are not he," made immediately upon the heels of Costard's first attempt in the role of Pompey to address the Duke. Staunton explains these words of Boyet's as signifying that, on his entrance, Costard prostrates himself before the Court; hence Boyet's joke," with its pun upon the word "lie."
Upon Pompey's repetition of the words, "I Pompey am," Boyet makes the second thrust that elicits from Biron his words of praise, "Well said, old mocker, I must needs be friends with thee." In Boyet's second interruption of Pompey "on knee" refers a second time to Pompey's suppliant position; and "libbard's head" is a pun upon lubbard-head, lubbard being "an altered form of lubber." 1 A "lubbard-head" or "lubber-head" is "a big clumsy fellow," a definition which corresponds to the description. of Costard the Clown (V. i. 123), where he is spoken of as a "swain," who, "because of his great limme or joynt, shall passe (i. e. represent) Pompey the Great." The pun, "libbard (lubbard)-head on knee" is, then, a second and more emphatic mock by Boyet of the clumsy civility offered the Duke by Pompey.
In another place in Shakespeare, substantially the same play on words is used in reversed order. Lubber's-head is there ignorantly used by Dame Quickly for Libbard's head, the name of an inn (2 Henry the Fourth, II.'i. 28): "A comes continuantly to Piecorner-saving your manhoods-to buy a saddle: and he is indited to dinner to the Lubber's-head in Lumbart street." This error of Hostess Quickly's leaves little doubt that the wit in Boyet's words commended by Biron lies in the second and hidden meaning of the words, "with libbard's head on knee."
1 See Oxford Dictionary for libbard, lubbard, lubber, and lubber-head. The approximate similarity here of the short "i" and the short "u" makes the pun on libbard and lubbard possible.
Her amber hairs for foul have amber quoted.
Love's Labour's Lost (IV. iii. 84-85).
Dumain's meaning here is, as Rolfe points out, that amber itself is regarded as foul when compared witth the hair of his lady." "An amber-coloured raven," Biron's mocking praise of Dumain's outburst over Katherine's hair, has not, however, been satisfactorily explained. Hart (Arden edition) explains raven correctly as a type of foul (fowl) in opposition to fair or amber." But the explanation of "amber-coloured raven" (First Folio Shakespeare), as "an allusion to the phrase a white raven' for the impossible," is wrong.
"Amber in amber-coloured" is a pun of Biron's upon "umber," describing the color of the raven. In his pun he takes advantage of the similarity in sixteenth-century pronunciation between "amber" and "umber" to turn Dumain's praise into dispraise. "An umber-coloured raven," Biron comments in ironical praise, was well-noted."
Stephano. Mistress Line, is not this my jerkin? Now is the
Do, do; we steal by line and level, an't like your
Stephano. I thank thee for that jest; here's a garment for 't:
Trinculo's words, "We steal by line and level," impress Stephano
Edward the Third (II, i, 14) has a similar comparison of golden hair and amber: "her hair-Like to a flattering Glass, doth make more fair The yellow amber."
Viëtor in his Shakespeare's Phonology (see index of rimes) notes Shakespeare's rime of adder with shudder. In the Arden Edition of All's Well (II, iii, 165) in reference to the correction of careless by cureless, it is noted that "we have countless misprints of the same kind, as in Troilus and Cressida where the Quarto gives destruction and the Folio has destraction."
to such an extent that he praises the speaker highly for his wit which "shall not go unrewarded." I have seen, however, no explanation of the reason why Trinculo's words here appeal to Stephano as a " jest " worthy both of commendation and of liberal reward.
In this as in other passages in Shakespeare where attention is called within the text to a jest that is not now obvious, we are correct in assuming an obscured meaning, which, if known, would warrant the praise by one character of some excellent pass of pate of another character. In this instance the cause of Stephano's applause lies in a proverbial meaning, now lost, of the words "by line and level." John Clarke, in his Paroemiologia Anglo-Latina, 1639, p. 92, under the heading "Diligentia," gives us as an English proverb the words, "By line and level." The meaning of Trinculo's jest, then, linked as it is with a pun on Stephano's preceding words, "under the line" and "Mistress Line," is, "We steal diligently, an't like your grace."
Trinculo's quibble caps another quibble of Stephano's immediately preceding, "Now is the jerkin under the line," which is based on the proverbial saying, "Thou hast struck the ball under the line" with the meaning, "Thou hast lost." John Heywood has it in his Proverbs and Epigrams (Farmer edition, p. 42), and Thomas Draxe, under the heading " prodigalitie,” in his Treasurie of Ancient Proverbs, 1616 (Anglia, vol. 42, p. 404, no. 1724).*
It is a habit of Trinculo's to turn to proverbs for material out of which to make his jests. In his next words following Stephano's praise of his wit, he does this in his command to Caliban to join him in stealing the "frippery": "Monster, come, put some lime upon your fingers, and away with the rest." Draxe has the proverbial thought (p. 413, no. 2115) in the form, "His fingers are made of lime-twigs."
Trinculo and Stephano, in calling upon proverbs in these passages to sharpen their witticisms, are true not only to their own general practice, but to the practice of most of Shakespeare's clownish servants and jesters, who grow merry over the proverbial quips they crack to the delight of their proverb-loving audiences. University of Michigan.
For a discussion of "under the line," see Furness, New Variorum Edition of the Tempest, p. 228 note.
MILTON AND YOSIPPON
BY HARRIS FLETCHER
M. Dennis Saurat, in a recent article, has very properly called attention to Milton's knowledge of and possible indebtedness to rabbinical writings which were commonly current and accessible to the seventeenth-century scholar in England. The case he makes out for the poet's use of that particular body of kabbalistic material known as the “Zohar” would, however, have little to commend it, were it not for a single, clear-cut parallel which he adduces, a parallel, not of idea alone, but of incident and even of phraseology. The point in question is the employment of the ‘jealousy motive' in Eve as the impelling force which caused Adam to eat of the forbidden fruit. Saurat parallels the following two passages :
but what if God have seen
- Paradise Lost, ix, 826 ff. The woman touched the tree. Then she saw the Angel of Death coming towards her, and thought: Perhaps I shall die and the Holy One, Blessed be He, will make another woman and give her to Adam. This must not happen. Let us live together or let us die together. And she gave the fruit to her husband that he should eat it also.-Zohar.
The correspondence here is certainly striking, particularly so in view of the fact that the jealousy motive does not appear in any of the literary treatments of the Garden of Eden story commonly supposed to have been used by Milton. It would, therefore, clearly appear to have been adopted by the poet directly from a rabbinical embroidery of the biblical narrative, and if so, is the only instance of Milton's use of such material thus far substantiated.
But was it to the Zohar that Milton went for this suggestion? Did he, as M. Saurat maintains, know of this particular work? The likelihood of his having done so is very remote, and when it is suggested that he knew the Zohar in its original form, which was a corrupt Aramaic, such a suggestion may be peremptorily waived for lack of evidence. Baldwin has reached an eminently safe and sound conclusion with regard to Milton's use of the Semitic languages, and, although there still remains something to be said on the subject, the conclusions he reaches make any attempt to connect Milton with the Zohar in Aramaic an extremely hazardous one. Added to the lack of evidence of Milton's knowledge of the Zohar is the fact that the dubious character of the work was just as well recognized in the seventeenth century as it is today.3
1 Studies in Philol., xix, p. 136 ff.
If, however, M. Saurat fails to make out a case for the Zohar, his suggestion that the jealousy motive was taken from a rabinnical source is well founded. It is, in fact, not at all necessary to indulge in idle speculation as to Milton's source for the incident. In the Pro Populo. Anglicano Defensio we find the following state ment, in connection with Salmasius' discussion of the Jewish kings after Maccabaeus:
O te secure mendacem si periisset Josephus, restaret tantum Josippus tuus ex quo pharisæorum quaedem nullius usus apophthegmata depromis.
Milton's reference here is to a work on Jewish history from the Creation, which usually passes under the name of Josippon or Yosippon, and, as his reference to it suggests, was known throughout the Middle Ages and much later as the “PseudoJosephus.” The work is usually connected with Joseph ben Gorion, and is in fact mentioned by Milton's contemporary, Joseph Mede, fellow of Christ's during Milton's residence there, under the name of Josephus Gorionides. For the present purpose we need not discuss the perplexities involved in the origins of the work, nor analyze the immense amount of material contained therein. It is sufficient to say that a great many manuscripts exist in Hebrew, and that a printed Hebrew edition appeared at Mantua as early as 1476-1479.
• Modern Philology, XVII, 457.
3 S. Krappe, Étude sur les origines et nature du Zohar, Paris, 1901. P. 307 f.
• Mitford's Edition (1851), vi, 83.