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TWO GENTLEMEN of VERONA.
Line 2. HOME-KEEPING youth have ever homely
wits :] Milton has the same play on words: “ It is for homely features to keep home, “ They had their name thence.” STEEVENS.
-shapeless idleness.] The expression is fine, as implying that idleness prevents the giving any form or character to the manners.
WARBURTON. 27. -nay, give me not the boots.] A proverbial expression, though now disused, signifying, don't make a laughing-stock of me; don't play with me.
The French have a phrase, Bailler foin en corne; which Cotgrave thus interprets, To give one the boots; to sell him a bargain.
THEOBALD. Perhaps this expression took its origin from a sport the country people in Warwickshire use at their harvest-home, where one sits as judge to try misdemeanors committed in harvest, and the punishment for the men is to be laid on a bench, and slapped on the breech with a pair of boots. This they call giving them the boots. I meet with the same expression in the old comedy called Mother Bombie, by Lilly :
“What, do you give me the boots ?” STEEVENS. 35. However, but a follyą] This love will end in a foolish action, to produce which you are long to spend your wit, or it will end in the loss of your wit, which will be overpowered by the folly of love. JOHNSON.
58. At Milan,--] The first copy has To. The emendation, which perhaps is not necessary, was made in the second folio. To Milan may have been intended as an imperfect sentence. I am now bound for Milan.
MALONE. 71. This whole scene, like many others in these plays (some of which I believe were written by Shak. spere, and others interpolated by the players) is composed of the lowest and most trifling conceits, to be accounted for only from the gross taste of the age he lived in ; Populo ut placerent. I wish I had authority to leave them out ; but I have done all I could, set a mark of reprobation upon them throughout this edition.
That this, like many other scenes; is mean and vulgar, will be universally allowed; but that it was interpolated by the players, seenis advanced without any proof, only to give a greater licence to criticism.
Johnson. 96. I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a lac'd mutton : -] Speed calls himself a lost mutton, because he had lost his master, and because Protheus had been proving him a sheep. But why does he call the lady a lac'd mutton? Wenches are to this day called mutton-mongers ; and consequently the object of their passion must, by the metaphor, be the mutton. And Cotgrave, in his English-French Dictionary, explains lac'd mutton, Une garse, putain, fille de joye. And Mr. Motteux has rendered this passage of Rabelais, in the prologue of his fourth book, Cailles coiphées mignonnement chantans, in this manner; Coated quails and lac’d mutton waggishly singing. So that lac’d mutton has been a sort of standard phrase for girls of pleasure.
THBOBALD. Nash, in his Have with you to Saffron-Walden, 1595, speaking of Gabriel Harvey's incontinence, says, “he would not stick to extoll rotten lac'd mutton." So, in the comedy of The Shoemaker's Holiday, or the Gentle Craft, 1610: “Why here's good lac'd mutton, as I promis'd
you." Again, in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578 : " And I smelt he lov'd lac'd mutton well.”
Again, Heywood, in his Love's Mistress, 1636, speaking of Cupid, says, “ He is the hero of hie-hoes, admiral of ay-me's, and monsier of mutton lac'd."
STEEVENS. 103. Nay, in that you are astray ; --] For the reason Protheus gives, Dr. Thirlby advises that we should read, a stray, i.e. a stray sheep; which continues Protheus's banter upon Speed. THEOBALD.
From the word astray here, and lost mutton above, it is obvious that the double reference was to the first sentence of the General Confession in the PrayerBook.
Henley. -did she nod?] These words have been supplied by some of the editors, to introduce what follows.
Steevens. 112. Noddy was a game at cards. So, in The Inner Temple Mask, by Middleton, 1619: " I leave them wholly (says Christmas) to my eldest son Noddy, whoin, during his minority, I commit to the custody of a pair of knaves and one-and-thirty.” Again, in Quarles's Virgin Widow, 1656: “ Let her forbear chess and noddy, as games too serious." STEEvens.
This play upon syllables, as Mr. Reed observes, is hardly worth explaining. The speakers intend to fix the name of noddy, that is, fool, on each other. So, in the Second Part of Pasquill's Mad Cappe, 1600,
“ If such a Noddy be not thought a fool." Again, E. 1. “ If such an asse be noddied for the nonce."
139. -1 fear, she'll prove as hard to you in telling her mind.] The authentick copy reads---your mind which the editor of the second folio not understand. ing, altered to–her mind. There is clearly no need of change. The meaning is-She being so hard to me, who was the bearer of your mind, 1 fear, she will prove no less so to you, when you address her in person. The opposition is between brought and telling.
MALONE. 144 --you have testern'd me ; -) You have gratified me with a tester, testern, or testen, that is, with a sixpence.
JOHNSON. The old reading is cestern'd. This typographical error was corrected in the second folio.
MALONE. 149. Which cannot perish, &c.] Alluding to the proverb, “ He that is born to be hanged will never be drowned.”
164. he never should be mine. ] Perhaps the insignificancy of Sir Eglamour's character is bur. lesqued in the following passage in Decker's Satiromastix :
“ Adieu, Sir Eglamour ; adieu lute-string, curtainrod, goose-quill,” &c. Sir Eglamour of Artoys is the hero of an ancient imetrical romance, imprinted at London, in Foster-Lane, at the sygne of the Hartes. horne, by John Walley, bl. let. no date.
STEEVENS. 172. Should censure thus, &c.] To censure means, in this place, to pass sentence. So, in Hinde's Eliosto Libidinose, 1606, “ Eliosto and Lleodoro were asto