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Say, What is it your honour will command?
Let one attend him with a silver bason,
Full of rose-water, and bestrew'd with flowers;
And say,-Will 't please your lordship cool your hands?
It will be pastime passing excellent,
If it be husbanded with modesty.4
1 Hun. My lord, I warrant you, we'll play our part, As he shall think, by our true diligence, He is no less than what we say he is.
Lord. Take him up gently, and to bed with him; And each one to his office, when he wakes.
[Some bear out SLY. A trumpet sounds.
2 And, when he says he is —, say, that he dreams,
For he is nothing but a mighty lord.] I rather think, (with Sir Thomas Hanmer) that Shakspeare wrote:
And when he says he's poor, say that he dreams.
The dignity of a lord is then significantly opposed to the poverty which it would be natural for Sly to acknowledge. Steevens.
If any thing should be inserted, it may be done thus :
The likeness in writing of Sly and say produced the omission.
Johnson. This is hardly right; for how should the Lord know the beggar's name to be Sly? Steevens.
Perhaps the sentence is left imperfect, because he did not know by what name to call him. Blackstone.
I have no doubt that the blank was intended by the author. It is observable that the metre of the line is perfect, without any supplemental word. In The Tempest a similar blank is found, which Shakspeare there also certainly intended:-"I should know that voice; it should be ; but he is drowned, and these are devils." Malone.
3 This do, and do it kindly,] Kindly, means naturally.
M. Mason. modesty.] By modesty is meant moderation, without suffering our merriment to break into an excess. Johnson.
Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds:—
Belike some noble gentleman, that means,
How now? who is it?
Now, fellows, you are welcome. 1 Play. We thank your honour. Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to-night? 2 Play. So please your lordship to accept our duty." Lord. With all my heart.This fellow I remember, Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son;— 'Twas where you woo'd the gentlewoman so well: I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally perform'd.
1 Play. I think, 'twas Soto' that your honour means.
5 Enter players.] The old play already quoted reads: "Enter two of the plaiers with packs at their backs, and a boy. "Now, sirs, what store of plaies have you?
"San. Marry my lord you may have a tragicall, "Or a commoditie, or what you will.
"The other. A comedie thou shouldst say, souns thou 'It shame us all.
"Lord. And what's the name of your comedie?
"San. Marrie my lord, 'tis calde The Taming of a Shrew: ""Tis a good lesson for us my L. for us that are married men," &c. Steevens.
6 to accept our duty.] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses. Johnson.
In the fifth Earl of Northumberland's Household Book, (with ́a copy of which I was honoured by the late duchess) the following article occurs. The book was begun in the year 1512:
"Rewards to Playars.
"Item, to be payd to the said Richard Gowge and Thomas Percy for rewards to players for playes playd in Chrystinmas by stranegers in my house after xxd. every play by estimacion somme Xxxiijs. iiijd. Which ys apoynted to be paid to the said Richard Gowge and Thomas Percy at the said Christynmas in full contentacion of the said rewardys xxxiijs. iiijd." Steevens.
"I think, 'twas Soto-] I take our author here to be paying a
Lord. 'Tis very true;-thou didst it excellent.-
you should smile, he grows impatient.
1 Play. Fear not, my lord; we can contain ourselves, Were he the veriest antick in the world.8
compliment to Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman Pleased, in which comedy there is the character of Soto, who is a farmer's son, and a very facetious serving-man. Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope prefix the name of Sim to the line here spoken; but the first folio has it Sincklo; which, no doubt, was the name of one of the players here introduced, and who had played the part of Soto with applause. Theobald.
As the old copy prefixes the name of Sincklo to this line, why should we displace it? Sincklo is a name elsewhere used by Shakspeare. In one of the parts of King Henry VI, Humphrey and Sincklo enter with their bows, as foresters.
With this observation I was favoured by a learned lady, and have replaced the old reading. Steevens.
It is true that Soto, in the play of Woman Pleased, is a farmer's eldest son, but he does not wooe any gentlewoman; so that it may be doubted, whether that be the character alluded to. There can be little doubt that Sincklo was the name of one of the players, which has crept in, both here and in The Third Part of K. Henry VI, instead of the name of the person represented.
Again, at the conclusion of The Second Part of King Henry IV : "Enter Sincklo and three or four officers." See the quarto, 1600. Tyrwhitt.
If Soto were the character alluded to, the compliment would be to the person who played the part, not to the author.
Sincklo or Sinkler, was certainly an actor in the same company with Shakspeare, &c.-He is introduced together with Burbage, Condell, Lowin, &c. in the Induction to Marston's Malcontent, 1604, and was also a performer in the entertainment entitled The Seven Deadlie Sinns. Malone.
in the world.] Here follows another insertion made by Mr. Pope from the old play. These words are not in the folio, 1623. I have therefore degraded them, as we have no proof that the first sketch of the piece was written by Shakspeare:
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,"
"San. [to the other.] Go, get a dishclout to make cleane your shooes, and Ile speak for the properties.* [Exit Player. "My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a propertie, and a little vinegre to make our diuel rore."+
The shoulder of mutton might indeed be necessary afterwards for the dinner of Petruchio, but there is no devil in this piece, or in the original on which Shakspeare formed it; neither was it yet determined what comedy should be represented. Steevens.
Property] in the language of a playhouse, is every implement necessary to the exhibition. Johnson.
fa little vinegre to make our diuel rore.] When the acting the mysteries of the Old and New Testament was in vogue at the representation of the mystery of the Passion, Judas and the Devil made a part. And the Devil, wherever he came, was always to suffer some disgrace, to make the people laugh: as here, the buffoonery was to apply the gall and vinegar to make him roar. And the Passion being that, of all the mysteries, which was most frequently represented, vinegar became at length the standing implement to torment the Devil; and was used for this purpose even after the mysteries ceased, and the moralities came in vogue; where the Devil continued to have a considerable part. The mention of it here, was to ridicule so absurd a circumstance in these old farces. Warburton.
All that Dr. Warburton has said relative to Judas and the vinegar, wants confirmation. I have met with no such circumstances in any mysteries, whether in MS. or in print; and yet both the Chester and Coventry collections are preserved in the British Museum. See MS. Harl. 2013, and Cotton MS. Vespasian D. viii.
Perhaps, however, some entertainments of a farcical kind might have been introduced between the Acts. Between the divisions of one of the Chester Mysteries, I met with this marginal direction: Here the Boy and Pig; and perhaps the Devil in the intervals of this first comedy of The Taming of the Shrew, might be tormented for the entertainment of the audience; or, according to a custom observed in some of our ancient puppetshows, might beat his wife with a shoulder of mutton. In the preface to Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, the Printer says:
"I have (purposelie) omitted and left out some fond and frivolous jestures, digressing (and in my poore opinion) farre unmeete for the matter, which I thought might seeme more tedious unto the wise, than any way els to be regarded, though (happly) they have bene of some vaine conceited fondlings greatly gaped at, what time they were showed upon the stage in their graced deformities: neverthelesse now to be mixtured in print with such matter of worth, it would prove a great disgrace," &c.
The bladder of vinegar was, however, used for other purposes.
And give them friendly welcome every one:
9 — take them to the buttery,] Mr. Pope had probably these words in his thoughts, when he wrote the following passage of his preface: " the top of the profession were then mere players, not gentlemen of the stage; they were led into the buttery by the steward, not placed at the lord's table, or the lady's toilette." But he seems not to have observed, that the players here introduced are strollers; and there is no reason to suppose that our author, Heminge, Burbage, Condell, &c. who were licensed by King James, were treated in this manner. Malone.
At the period when this comedy was written, and for many years after, the profession of a player was scarcely allowed to be reputable. The imagined dignity of those who did not belong to itinerant companies, is, therefore, unworthy consideration. I can as easily believe that the blundering editors of the first folio were suffered to lean their hands on Queen Elizabeth's chair of state, as that they were admitted to the table of the Earl of Leicester, or the toilette of Lady Hunsdon. Like Stephen in
I meet with the following stage direction in the old play of Cambyses, (by T. Preston) when one of the characters is supposed to die from the wounds he had just received: Here let a small bladder of vinegar be pricked. I suppose to counterfeit blood: redwine vinegar was chiefly used, as appears from the ancient books of cookery.
In the ancient Tragedy, or rather Morality, called All for Money, by T. Lupton, 1578, Sin says,
"I knew I would make him soon change his note,
"I will make him sing the Black Sanctus, I hold him a groat."
"Here Satan shall cry and roar." Again, a little after:
"Here he roareth and crieth."
Of the kind of wit current through these productions, a better specimen can hardly be found than the following:
"Satan. Whatever thou wilt have, I will not thee denie. "Sinne. Then give me a piece of thy tayle to make a flappe for a flie.
"For if I had a piece thereof, I do verely believe
"Satan. No, my friend, no, my tayle I cannot spare,
"For I am combred with collike and letting out of winde: "And if it be too little to make thereof a case,
"Then I would be so bold to borrowe your face." Such were the entertainments, of which our maiden Queen sat a spectatress in the earlier part of her reign. Steevens.