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Be she as foul as was Florentius' love, 9
(As wealth is burthen of my wooing dance)] The burthen of a dance is an expression which I have never heard; the burthen of his wooing song had been more proper. Johnson.
9 Be she as foul as was Florentius love,] I suppose this alludes to the story of a Florentine, which is met with in the eleventh Book of Thomas Lupton's Thousand Notable Things, and perhaps in other collections:
“ 39. A Florentine young gentleman was so deceived by the lustre and orientness of her jewels, pearls, rings, lawns, scarfes, laces, gold spangles, and other gaudy devices, that he was ravished overnight, and was mad til the marriage was solemnized. But next morning by light viewing her before she was so gorge, ously trim'd up, she was such a leane, yellow, riveled, deformed creature, that he never lay with her, nor lived with her afterwards; and would say that he had married himself to a stinking house of office, painted over, and set out with fine garments: and so for grief consumed away in melancholy, and at last poysoned himself. Gomesius, Lib. 3, de Sal. Gen. cap. 22." Farmer.
The allusion is to a story told by Gower in the first Book De Confessione Amantis. Florent is the name of a knight who had bound himself to marry a deformed hag, provided she taught him the solution of a riddle on which his life depended. The following is the description of her:
* Florent his wofull heed up lifte,
* Though she be the fouleste of all,” &c. This story might have been borrowed by Gower from an older narrative in the
Gesta Romanorum. See the Introductory Discourse to The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition, Vol. IV, p. 153. Steevens.
As Socrates' Xantippe, or a worse,
Gru. Nay, look you, sir, he tells you flatly what his mind is: Why, give him gold enough and marry him to a puppet, or an aglet-baby ;2 or an old trot with ne'er a tooth in her head, though she have as many diseases as two and fifty horses:3 why, nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal.
Hor. Petruchio, since we have stepp'd thus far in,
1-were she as rough--) The old copy reads--were she is as rough. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
aglet-baby;] i. e. a diminutive being, not exceeding in 'size the tag of a point. So, in Feronimo, 1605:
5 And all those stars that gaze upon her face,
“ Are aglets on her sleeve-pins and her train.” Steevens. An aglet-baby was a small image or head cut on the tag of a point, or lace. That such figures were sometimes appended to them, Dr. Warburton has proved, by a passage in Mezeray, the French historian:-“portant meme sur les aiguillettes (points] des petites tetes de mort.” Malone.
as many diseases as two and fifty horses : ] I suspect this passage to be corrupt, though I know not how to rectify it.— The fifty diseases of a horse seem to have been proverbial. So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608: “O stumbling jade! the spavin o’ertake thee! the fifty diseases stop thee!” Malone.
(and that is faults enough)] And that one is itself a host of faults. The editor of the second folio, who has been copied by all the subsequent editors, unnecessarily reads--and that is fault enough. Malone.
- shrewd,] Here means, having the qualities of a shrew. The adjective is now used only in the sense of acute, intelligent.
That, were my state far worser than it is,
Hor. Her father is Baptista Minola,
Pet. I know her father, though I know not her;
Gru. I pray you, sir, let him go while the humour lasts. O’ my word, an she knew him as well as I do, she would think scolding would do little good upon him: She may, perhaps, call him half a score knaves, or so: why, that 's nothing; an he begin once, he 'll rail in his rope-tricks. I'll tell you what, sir,man she stand him?
I believe shrewd only signifies bitter, severe. So, in de you Like it, sc. ult: “ That have endur'd shrewd days and nights with us."
- an he begin once, he'll rail in his rope-tricks.] This is obscure. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-he'll rail in his rhetorick; I'll tell you, &c. Rhetorick agrees very well with figure in the succeeding part of the speech, yet I am inclined to believe that rope-tricks is the true word. Johnson. In Romeo and Juliet, Shakspeare uses ropery
and therefore certainly wrote rope-tricks.
Rope-tricks we may suppose to mean tricks of which the con. triver would deserve the rope. Steevens.
Rope-tricks is certainly right.--Ropery or rope-tricks originally signified abusive language, without any determinate idea; such language as parrots are taught to speak. So, in Hudibras:
« Could tell what subt'lest parrots mean,
“When they cry rope, and walk, knave walk." The following passage in Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique, 1553, shews that this was the meaning of the term: “ Another good
but a little, he will throw a figure in her face, and so disfigure her with it, that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat:8 You know him not, sir.
Hor. Tarry, Petruchio, I must go with thee;
fellow in the countrey, being an officer and maiour of a toune, and desirous to speak like a fine learned man, having just occasion to rebuke a runnegate fellow, said after this wise in great heate: Thou yngram and vacation knave, if I take thee any more within the circumcision of my damnacion, I will so corrupte thee that all vacation knaves shall take ill sample by thee.” So, in May-day, a comedy, by Chapman, 1611: “Lord! how you roll in your rope-ripe terms." Malone.
- stand him-] i. e. withstand, resist him. Steevens.
that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat :] The humour of this passage I do not understand. This animal is remarkable for the keenness of its sight. In The Castell of Laboure, however, printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 1506, is the fol. lowing line: “That was as blereyed as a cat."
There are two proverbs which, any reader who can, may apply to this allusion of Grumio:
“ Well might the cat wink when both her eyes were out.”
“A muffled cat was never a good hunter.” The first is in Ray's Collection, the second in Kelly's. Steedens.
It may mean, that he shall swell up her eyes with blows, till she shall seem to peep with a contracted pupil, like a cat in the light. Fohnson.
in Baptista's keep-] Keep is custody. The strongest part of an ancient castle was called the keep. Steevens. 1 And her withholds &c.] It stood thus:
And her withholds from me,
Other morc suitors to her, and rivals in my love, &c. The regulation which I have given to the text, was dictated to me by the ingenious Dr. Thirlby. Theobald.
2 Therefore this order hath Baptista ta'en ;] To take order is to take measures. So, in Othello:
“Honest Iago hath ta'en order for it.” Steevens.
Till Katharine the curst have got a husband.
Gru. Katharine the curst!
Hor. Now shall my friend Petruchio do me grace;
books under his arm. Gru. Here's no knavery! See; to beguile the old folks, how the young folks lay their heads together! Master, master, look about
3 Well seen in musick,] Seen is versed, practised. So, in a very ancient comedy called The longer thou livest the more Fool thou art :
“ Sum would have you seen in stories,
“Marry, I would have you seene in cardes and dise."
science that mote bee." Again, in Chapman's version of the 19th Iliai: “Seven ladies excellently seen in all Minerva's skill.”
Steevens. 4—at any hand;] i.e. at all events. So, All's well that ends well:
- let him fetch off his drum, in any hand.” Steevens.