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nonne ye more wod ytte bee hydden bie ye onder Gaurmente offe Flaunnyn, and then wds' thou haue wherewithall toe deffend thie Lymbes from ye rothlesse Ayr: moreouer thou wds' profyt therebie ynne divers Waies.”
(1)-Jack FrostAn elegant prosopopæia of cold.
Jack Frost is, I believe, a very powerful agent in the Scandinavian mythology.—He is a personage of no little importance in many of the traditionary stories of the north.
Horatio says, 'tis half past eleven at most. That Marcellus's watch indigitates the time more accurately than Horatio's, is proved by the appearance of the ghost; as it is well known that ghosts are never disincarcerated until midnight.
For a man to wear a good watch, although there be neither a moral obligation nor a physical necessity,yet he who, disdaining the equivocating offspring of Geneva, carries one whose motions are regulated with rigid scrupulosity, and whose information is delivered with oracular veracity, deserves praise, and merits commendation.
There is so surprising a display of intellect in this observation, that I shall forbear to question the truth of the position.
Rig is not, strictly, a row, but rather a go; in which sense it is used in another part of this play.
(m) You'd better hold your jaw
The folio reads mag; but I adopt jaw (from the quarto) as the more elegant, and as being more in the spirit of our author.
(n)-Paws offPoeticè,—hands off.
i. 6. Mag, or jaw. See the “ Slang Dictionary.” St. Giles's Edition.
This word, powerful and expressive, has several significations : its present meaning is to turn nose, to divulge.
(9) That diddled me The true reading I believe to be," that did me.” To do a person is to cheat him.
My friend, the glazier, is of opinion that Merry Andrew was a distant relation of Maid Marian's gentleman-usher, or, as I conceive him to have been, her paramour ;* but a reference to the registers of the Heralds' College, places it beyond all doubt that he was the person represented by the figure which I mistook for Tom the Piper, in my friend's painted window.
If the public are not yet surfeited with the remarks of myself and the other ingenious commentators on the Old Vice, Maid Marian, the Morris Dancers, &c. &c. &c. I shall republish them in thirteen volumes quarto, with additional observations on Merry Andrew, Little Jack Horner, and the whole of the dramatis persona of the Nursery mythology.
(5)—What's the row?
I have ventured to restore this from the old copies : in the later ones I find, what now?
(1) Needs must
The remainder of this old proverb is preserved in the
+ See Mr. Tollet's Essay on Fools' Caps, or, as he very gravely calls it, his Opinion concerning the Morris-Dancers upon his Window.ANNOTATIONS, HEN. IV. PART I.
pathetic ballad of the “ Two Louers theyr melancolie Partynge”—Dr. Humbug's Reliques, Vol. 94:
“To leve thee here, mie Alys dere,
“Fulle sone ye tyme arryveth;
“Needs must when the Devil dryveth.”
Rosencrantz means thus: 'We (Guildenstern and myself) have no alternative; were we to refuse attendance upon your mere invitation, you could then compel it by the interposition of the royal authority.'