1 CIT. We cannot, sir, we are undone already. MEN. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman state; whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link asunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment: For the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity

Thither where more attends you; and you slander The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.

1 CIT. Care for us!-True, indeed!-They ne'er cared for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their store-houses crammed with grain; make edicts for usury, to support usurers: repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich; and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us. MEN. Either you must

Confess yourselves wondrous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it;
But, since it serves my purpose, I will venture
To scale 't a little more.


cracking ten thousand curbs

Of more strong link asunder, than can ever
Appear in your impediment:] So, in Othello:

"I have made my way through more impediments
"Than twenty times your stop." MALONE.

I will venture

To scale 't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The word

1 Crr. Well, I'll hear it, sir: yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale: but, an't please you, deliver.

MEN. There was a time, when all the body's


Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :-
That only like a gulf it did remain

I' the midst o'the body, idle and inactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing

is still used in the North. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.

A measure of wine spilt, is called-“ a scal'd pottle of wine" in Decker's comedy of The Honest Whore, 1604. So, in The Hystorie of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. a play published in 1599:

"The hugie heapes of cares that lodged in my minde, "Are skaled from their nestling-place, and pleasures passage find."

Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, already quoted:

Cut off his beard.

"Fye, fye; idle, idle; he's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scal'd hair." In the North they say scale the corn, i. e. scatter it: scale the muck well, i. e. spread the dung well. The two foregoing instances are taken from Mr. Lambe's notes on the old metrical history of Floddon Field.

Again, Holinshed, Vol. II. p. 499, speaking of the retreat of the Welshmen during the absence of Richard II. says: "—they would no longer abide, but scaled and departed away." So again, p. 530: "whereupon their troops scaled, and fled their waies." In the learned Ruddiman's Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scapigliare, crines passos, seu sparsos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus escheveler, schevel, skail; but of a more general signification. See Vol. VI. p. 312, n. 5. STEEVENS.


Theobald reads-stale it. MALONE.

disgrace with a tale:] Disgraces are hardships, in-. juries. JOHNSON.

Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments 1

Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And, mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly answered,-


1 CIT. Well, sir, what answer made the belly? MEN. Sir, I shall tell you.-With a kind of smile, Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus, (For, look you, I may make the belly smile," As well as speak,) it tauntingly replied

To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envied his receipt; even so most fitly5
As you malign our senators, for that

They are not such as you."

1 CIT.

Your belly's answer: What!

The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,


·where the other instruments-] Where for whereas. JOHNSON.

We meet with the same expression in The Winter's Tale, Vol. IX. p. 267, n. 7:

"As you feel, doing thus, and see withal "The instruments that feel." MALONE. 2-participate,] Here means participant, or participating. MALONE.

› Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt. JOHNSON.

I may make the belly smile,] "And so the belly, all this notwithstanding, laughed at their folly, and sayed," &c. North's translation of Plutarch, p. 240, edit. 1579. MALONE. even so most fitly] i. e. exactly. WARBURTON.


They are not such as you.] I suppose we should read-They are not as you. So, in St. Luke, xviii. 11: " God, I thank thee, I am not as this publican." The pronoun-suck, only disorders the measure, STEEVENS,

The counsellor heart," the arm our soldier,
Our steed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter,
With other muniments and petty helps

In this our fabrick, if that they


What then?

'Fore me, this fellow speaks!-what then? what


1 CIT. Should by the cormorant belly be re


Who is the sink o'the body,


Well, what then?

1 CIT. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer?

I will tell you;

ΜΕΝ. If you'll bestow a small (of what you have little,) Patience, a while, you'll hear the belly's answer.

1 CIT. You are long about it.


Note me this, good friend; Your most grave belly was deliberate,

Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd.
True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,
That I receive the general food at first,
Which you do live upon: and fit it is;
Because I am the store-house, and the shop
Of the whole body: But if you do remember,
I send it through the rivers of your blood,
Even to the court, the heart,-to the seat o'the brain ;*

7 The counsellor heart,] The heart was anciently esteemed the seat of prudence. Homo cordatus is a prudent man. JOHNSON. The heart was considered by Shakspeare as the seat of the understanding. See the next note. MALONE.

to the seat o'the brain;] seems to me a very languid expression. I believe we should read, with the omission of a particle:


And, through the cranks and offices of man,
The strongest nerves, and small inferior veins,

Even to the court, the heart, to the seat, the brain.

He uses seat for throne, the royal seat, which the first editors probably not apprehending, corrupted the passage. It is thus used in Richard II. Act III. sc. iv:

"Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills

"Against thy seat.".

It should be observed too, that one of the Citizens had just before characterized these principal parts of the human fabrick by similar metaphors:

"The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,

"The counsellor heart,


I have too great respect for even the conjectures of my respectable and very judicious friend, to suppress his note, though it appears to me erroneous. In the present instance I have not the smallest doubt, being clearly of opinion that the text is right. Brain is here used for reason or understanding. Shakspeare seems to have had Camden as well as Plutarch before him; the former of whom has told a similar story in his Remains, 1605, and has likewise made the heart the seat of the brain, or understanding: "Hereupon they all agreed to pine away their lasie and publike enemy. One day passed over, the second followed very tedious, but the third day was so grievous to them, that they called a common counsel. The eyes waxed dimme, the feete could not support the body, the armes waxed lazie, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter. Therefore they all with one accord desired the advice of the heart. There REASON laid open before them," &c. Remains, p. 109. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. in which a circumstance is noticed, that shows our author had read Camden as well as Plutarch.

I agree, however, entirely with Mr. Tyrwhitt, in thinking that seat means here the royal seat, the throne. The seat of the brain, is put in opposition with the heart, and is descriptive of it. "I send it, (says the belly,) through the blood, even to the royal residence, the heart, in which the kingly-crowned understanding sits enthroned."

So, in King Henry VI. P. II:

"The rightful heir to England's royal seat."

In like manner in Twelfth-Night our author has erected the throne of love in the heart:

"It gives a very echo to the seat

"Where love is throned."

« VorigeDoorgaan »