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14 SCENE IV.-“We'll have no Cupid hood 15 SCENE IV.-"We'll measure them a measure.” wink'd with a scarf,” &c.
The “measure” was the courtly dance of the The masque of ladies, or amazons, in Shak- days of Elizabeth; not so solemn as the pavanspere’s ‘Timon,' is preceded by a Cupid, who the “doleful pavan,” as Davenant calls it, in addresses the company in a speech. This “de- which princes in their mantles, and lawyers in vice” was a practice of courtly life, before and their long robes, and courtly dames with enorduring the time of Shakspere. But here he mous trains, swept the rushes like the tails of says,
peacocks. From this circumstance came its “The date is out of such prolixity."
name, the pavan—the dance of the peacock.
The "measure” may be best described in ShakThe “Tartar's painted bow of lath” is the spere's own words, in the mouth of the lively bow of the Asiatic nations, with a double curve; Beatrice, in “Much Ado about Nothing':and Shakspere employed the epithet to distin “ The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you guish the bow of Cupid from the old English be not woo'd in good time; if the prince be long bow. The “crow-keeper,” who scares the too important, tell him there is measure in ladies, had also a bow :-he is the shuffle or every thing, and so dance out the answer. For mawkin—the scarecrow of rags and straw, with hear me, Hero : wooing, wedding, and repenta bow and arrow in his hand. “That fellow ing, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquehandles his bow like a crow-keeper," says Lear. pace : the first suit is hot and hasty, like a The “without-book prologue faintly spoke after Scotch jig, and full as fantastical : the wedding, the prompter,” is supposed by Warton to allude mannerly-modest, as a measure full of state and to the boy-actors that we afterwards find so fully ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with noticed in Hamlet.
his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.”
waxen torches borne in the hands of attendants. | tricated, of course; and the merriment arises Froissart thus describes the feasting of Gaston from the awkward and affected efforts of the de Foix "At midnight when he came out of rustics to lift the log, and from sundry arch his chamber into the hall to supper, he had ever contrivances to let the ends of it fall on one before him twelve torches brennyng, borne by another's toes. This will not be thought a very twelve varlettes standing before his table all exquisite amusement; and yet I have seen much supper." To hold the torch was not, however, honest mirth at it, and have been far more entera degrading office in England; for the gentle tained with the ludicrous contortions of premen pensioners of Elizabeth held torches while tended struggles, than with the real writhing, a play was acted before her in the chapel of the dark scowl of avarice and envy, exhibited King's College, Cambridge.
by the same description of persons, in the 17 SCENE IV._" Tickle the senseless rushes with substitute for all our ancient sports.”—(Ben
genteeler amusement of cards, the universal their heels." ,
Jonson's Works, vol. vii. page 282.)
This was the old mode of apology for the that Queen was, according to Hentzner, strewed with hay, by which he meant rushes. The im- introduction of a free expression. Mercutio purities which gathered on the floor were easily says, he will draw Romeo from the mire of
this love,” and uses, parenthetically, the ordiremoved with the rushes. But the custom of strewing rushes, although very general in Eng of love. Gifford has given us a quotation from
nary form of apology for speaking so profanely land, was not peculiar to it. Mr. Brown, in his
an old tract on the origin of tobacco, which is work on Shakspere's auto-biographical poems, has this observation : “ An objection has been exactly in point :-“The time hath been when
if we did speak of this loathsome stuff, tobacco, made, imputing an error, in Grumio's question, 'Are the rushes strewed?' But the custom of
we used to put a 'Sir reverence' before, but we strewing rushes in England belonged also to forget our good manners.” In another note on Italy; this may be seen in old authors, and filthy stuff on this simple interjection, of which
the same word, Gifford says, “there is much their very word giuncare, now out of use, is a
neither Steevens nor Malone appears to have proof of it.”
known the import, in the notes to Romeo and 11 SCENE IV.-“Tut! dun's the mouse.”
Juliet.”—(Ben Jonson's Works, vol. vi. page 149;
vol. vii. page 337.) We have a string of sayings here which have much puzzled the commentators. When Romeo
20 SCENE IV.-" This is that very Mab exclaims, “I am done,” Mercutio, playing upon
That plats the manes of horses in the night." the word, cries “dun 's the mouse." This is a proverbial phrase, constantly occurring in the
We extract the following amusing note from old comedies. It is probably something like
Douce's Illustrations : the other cant phrase that occurs in Lear, " the
“This line alludes to a very singular supercat is grey.” The following line
stition, not yet forgotten in some parts of the
country. It was believed that certain malig“If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire,"
nant spirits, whose delight was to wander in was fully as puzzling, till Gifford gave us a solu- groves and pleasant places, assumed occasionally tion :-"Dun is in the mire! then, is a Christ- the likenesses of women clothed in white; that mas gambol, at which I have often played. A in this character they sometimes haunted stables log of wood is brought into the midst of the in the night-time, carrying in their hands tapers room : this is dun (the cart horse), and a cry is of wax, which they dropped on the horses' manes, raised, that he is stuck in the mire. Two of the thereby plaiting them in inextricable knots, to company advance, either with or without ropes, the great annoyance of the poor animals, and to draw him out. After repeated attempts, they the vexation of their masters. These hags are find themselves unable to do it, and call for mentioned in the works of William Auvergne, more assistance.—The game continues till all Bishop of Paris, in the thirteenth century. the company take part in it, when dun is ex- There is a very uncommon old print by Hans
TRAGEDIES. --VOL. I.
Burgmair, relating to this subject. A witch On the forefinger of a burgomaster, enters the stable with a lighted torch; and pre
Drawn with a team of little atomy,
Athwart men's noses when they lie asleep. viously to the operation of entangling the horse's
Her waggon-spokes are made of spinners' webs, mane, practises her enchantments on the groom, The cover of the wings of grasshoppers, who is lying asleep on his back, and apparently
The traces are the moonshine watery beams,
The collars cricket bones, the lash of films. influenced by the nightmare. The belemnites, or Her waggoner is a small grey-coated fly elf-stones, were regarded as charms against the Not half so big as is a little worm, last-mentioned disease and against evil spirits
Pick'd from the lazy finger of a maid.
And in this sort she gallops up and down of all kinds; but the cerauniæ, or bætuli, and
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love; all perforated flint stones, were not only used O'er courtiers knees, who straight on courtesies dream; for the same purpose, but more particularly for O'er ladies' lips, who dream on kisses straight,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, the protection of horses and other cattle, by
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are. suspending them in stables, or tying them Sometimes she gallops o'er a lawyer's lap, round the necks of the animals."
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit; The next line,
And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose that lies asleep, "And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs," And then dreams he of another benefice. seems to be unconnected with the preceding,
Sometimes she gallops o'er a soldier's nose,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats, and to mark a superstition, which, as Dr. War- .
of breaches, ambuscadoes, countermines, burton has observed, may have originated from of healths five fathom deep, and then anon the plica Polonica, which was supposed to be Drums in his ear, at which he starts and wakes,
And swears a prayer or two, and sleeps again : the operation of the wicked elves, whence the
This is that Mab that makes maids lie on their backs, clotted hair was called elf-locks, and elf-knots. And makes them women of good carriage. Thus Edgar talks of “elfing all his hair in knots.” This is the very Mab,
That plaits the manes of horses in the night, 21 SCENE IV.
And plaits the elf-locks in foul sluttish hair,
Which once untangled much misfortune breeds." It is desirable to exhibit the first draft of a performance so exquisitely finished as this cele
2 SCENE V.-“Remove the court cupboard." brated description, in which every word is a study. And yet it is curious that in the quarto
The court cupboard was the ornamental sideof 1609, and in the folio (from which we print), board, set out with salvers and beakers on days in both of which the corrections of the author of festivity. We have in a play of 1599, “acare apparent, the whole speech is given as if it complished the court cupboard ;” and in another were in prose. The original quarto of 1597 by Chapman, in 1606, “Here shall stand my gives the passage as follows:
court cupboard with its furniture of plate.” In
Italy the art of Benvenuto Cellini was lavished "Ah, then I see queen Mab hath been with you, She is the fairies' midwife, and doth come
upon the exquisite ornaments of the court cupIn shape no bigger than an agate-stone
23 SCENE I.—" When king Cophetua lowd the "Armado. Is there not a ballad, boy, of the King and the beggar-maid."
Moth. The world was very guilty of such a ballad some The ballad of King Cophetua and the beggar. three ages since; but, I think, now 't is not to be found, maid was amongst the most popular of old me if it were, it would neither serve for the writing nor English ballads, allusions to which were familiar Arm. I will have that subject newly writ o'er." to Shakspere's audience. Upon the authority We have two versions of this ballad :—the one of learned Master "Moth” in 'Love's Labour's published in ‘A Collection of Old Ballads, Lost,' it was an ancient ballad in Shakspere's quoted by Grey, in 1754; the other in Percy's day :
Reliques.' Both of these compositions appear
as if they had been “newly writ o'er" not bed, or a trundle-bed, both which words exlong before, or perhaps after, Shakspere's time: plain the sort of bed—a running-bed. The we subjoin a stanza of each
furniture of a sleeping-chamber in ShakFROM PERCY'S ' RELIQUES.'
spere's time consisted of a standing-bed,
and a truckle-bed. “There's his chamber, his “I read that once in Africa A princely wight did reign,
house, his castle, his standing-bed, and truckleWho had to name Cophetua,
bed,” says mine host of the Garter, in the As poets they did feign:
‘Merry Wives of Windsor.' The standing-bed From nature's laws he did decline, For sure he was not of my mind,
was for the master; the truckle-bed, which ran He cared not for womankind,
under it, for the servant. It may seem strange, But did them all disdain.
therefore, that Mercutio should talk of sleeping But mark, what happened on a day, As he out of his window lay,
in the bed of his page ; but the next words will He saw a beggar all in grey,
solve the difficulty :
“This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep."
The field-bed, in this case, was the ground ;
but the field-bed,' properly so called, was the
travelling bed; the lit de champ, called, in old FROM 'A COLLECTION OF OLD BALLADS.'
English, the “trussyng-bedde.” The bed next “A king once reigned beyond the seas,
beyond the luxury of the trussyng-bed was the As we in ancient stories find,
truckle-bed ; and therefore Shakspere naturally Whom no fair face could ever please,
takes that in preference to the standing-bed.
25 SCENE II.—"Well, do not swear," &c. At length he married to a beggar;
Coleridge has a beautiful remark on this
passage, and on the whole of the scene, which Did to his closet window steal,
we extract :-“With love, pure love, there is And made him soon his power feel. He that never cared for women,
always an anxiety for the safety of the object, But did females ever hate,
a disinterestedness, by which it is distinguished At length was smitten, wounded, swooned, from the counterfeits of its name. Compare For a beggar at his gate."
this scene with Act III. Scene 1. of the "Tempest.' I do not know a more wonderful instance of Shakspere's mastery in playing a distinctly rememberable variety on the same remembered air, than in the transporting love confessions of Romeo and Juliet, and Ferdinand and Miranda. There seems more passion in the one, and more dignity in the other; yet you feel that the sweet girlish lingering and busy movement of Juliet, and the calmer and more maidenly fondness of Miranda, might easily pass into each other."
26 SCENE II.—“0, for a falconer's voice,
To lure this tassel-gentle back again !" The falconer's voice was the voice which the hawk was constrained by long habit to obey. Gervase Markham, in his Country Contentments,' has picturesquely described the process
of training hawks to this obedience, " by watch24 SOENE I.-I'll to my truckle-bed.” ing and keeping them from sleep, by a continual The original quarto has, “I'll to my trundle carrying them upon your fist, and by a most bed.” It appears somewhat strange that Mer- familiar stroking and playing with them, with cutio should speak of sleeping in a truckle- | the wing of a dead fowl, or such like, and by
often gazing and looking them in the face, with 'Merry Wives of Windsor,' Falstaff's page is the a loving and gentle countenance." A hawk so eyas-musket, the smallest unfledged hawk. "manned ” was brought to the lure “by easy Othello fears that Desdemona is haggard—that degrees, and at last was taught to know the is, the wild hawk which “checks at every feather.” voice and lure so perfectly, that either upon The sport with a tassel-gentle is spiritedly dethe sound of the one, or sight of the other, she scribed by Massinger :will presently come in, and be most obedient."
-“Then, for an evening flight, There is a peculiar propriety in Juliet calling A tiercel gentle, which I call, my masters, Romeo her tassel-gentle ; for this species was
As he were sent a messenger to the moon,
In such a place flies, as he seems to say, amongst the most beautiful and elegant of
See me, or see me not! the partridge sprung, hawks, and was especially appropriated to the He makes his stoop; but, wanting breath, is forced use of a prince. Our poet always uses the To cancelier; then, with such speed as if images which have been derived from his own
He carried lightning in his wings, he strikes
The trembling bird, who even in death appears experience, with exquisite propriety. In the Proud to be made his quarry.'
27 SCENE III.—“ The earth, that's nature's mother, passages in which the author has sacrificed is her tomb."
grammar to rhyme." Mr. Monck Mason's obMilton, in the second book of 'Paradise Lost, servation is made in the same spirit in which has the same idea :
he calls Romeo's impassioned language “ quaint “The womb of nature, and, perhaps, her grave." jargon." Before Shakspere was accused of sacriThe editors of Milton have given a parallel pas- ficing grammar, it ought to have been shown sage in Lucretius :
that his idiom was essentially different from Omniparens, eadem rerum commune sepulchrum." that of his predecessors and his cotemporaries. We would ask, did Shakspere and Milton go to Dr. Percy, who brought to the elucidation of the same common source ? Farmer has not our old authors the knowledge of an antiquary solved this question in his “Essay on the and the feeling of a poet, has observed, that Learning of Shakspere."
“in very old English the third person plural
of the present tense endeth in eth as well as the 28 SCENE III.“ Both our remedies singular, and often familiarly in €8;" and it
Within thy help and holy physic lies." has been further explained by Mr. Tollet, that “This,” says Monck Mason, "is one of the “ the third person plural of the Anglo-Saxon