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Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' the Tiger: the word aroint in no other author; till looking into Hearne's Collections, I found it in a very old drawing, that he has publish ed,* in which St. Patrick is represented visiting hell, and putting the devils into great confusion by his presence, of whom one, that is driving the damned before him with a prong, has a label issuing out of his mouth with these words, out out ARONGT, of which the last is evidently the same with aroint, and used in the same sense as in this passage. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson's memory, on the present occasion, appears to have deceived him in more than a single instance. The subject of the above-mentioned drawing is ascertained by a label affixed to it in Gothie letters. Iesus Christus, resurgens a mortuis spoliat infernum. My predecessor, indeed, might have been misled by an uncouth abbreviation in the Sacred Name.
The words-Out out arongt, are addressed to our Redeemer by Satan, who, the better to enforce them, accompanies them with a blast of the horn he holds in his right hand. Tartareum intendit cornu. If the instrument he grasps in his left hand was meant for a prong, it is of singular make.
Satan is not a driving the damned before him;"nor is any other dæmon present to undertake that office. Redemption, not punishment, is the subject of the piece.
This story of Christ's exploit, in his descensus ad inferos (as Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed in a note on Chaucer, 3512,) is taken from the Gospel of Nicodemus, and was called by our ancestors the barrowinge of belle, under which title it was represented among the Chester Whitsun Playes, MS. Harl. 2013.
Rynt you witch, quoth Besse Locket to her mother, is a North Country proverb. The word is used again in King Lear:
" And aroint thee, witch, aroint thee.” Anoint is the reading of the folio 1664, a book of no authority.
Steevens.. 4- the rump-fed ronyon - ] The chief cooks in noblemen's families, colleges, religious houses, hospitals, &c. anciently claimed the emoluments or kitchen fees of kidneys, fat, trotters, rumps, &c. which they sold to the poor. The weird sister in this scene, as an insult on the poverty of the woman who had called her witch, reproaches her poor abject state, as not being able to procure better provision than offals, which are considered as the refuse of the tables of others. Colepeper.
So, in The Ordinance for the Government of Prince Edward, 1474, the following fees are allowed:-“mutton's heades, the rumpes of every beefe,” &c. Again, in The Ordinances of the Household of George Duke of Clarence : “ - the hinder shankes of the mutton, with the rumpe, to be feable.”
Again, in Ben Jonson's Staple of News, old Penny-boy says to the cook:
But in a sieve I 'll thither sail,
" And then remember meat for my two dogs; .
“Fat flaps of mutton, kidneys, rumps,” &c. Again, in Wit at several Weapons, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ A niggard to your commons, that you ’re fain
“ With kidneys, rumps, and cues of single beer." .. In The Book of Haukunge, &c. (commonly called The Book of St. Albans) bl. 1. no date, among the proper terms used in kepyně of baukes, it is said: “ The bauke tyreth upon rumps.” Steevens.
5 ronyon cries.] i. e. scabby or mangy woman. Fr. rog. neux, royne, scurf. Thus Chaucer, in The Romaunt of the Rose, p. 551:
" her necke
“ Withouten bleine, or scabbe, or roine.” Shakspeare uses the substantive again in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and the adjective-roynish, in As you Like it. Steevens.
6- in a sieve I'll thither sail,] Reginald Scott, in his Dis. covery of Witchcraft, 1584, says it was believed that witches “could sail in an egg shell, a cockle or muscle shell, through and under the tempestuous seas.” Again, says Sir W. D’Ave. nant, in his Albovine, 1629 :
“ He sits like a witch sailing in a sieve." Again, in Newes from Scotland : Declaring the damnable Life of Doctor Fian a notable Sorcerer, who was burned at Edinbrough'in Januarie last, 1591; which Doctor was Register to the Devill, that sundrie Times preached at North Baricke Kirke, to a Number of notorious Witches. With the true Examination of the said Doc. tor and Witches, as they uttered them in the presence of the Scottish King. Discovering bow they pretended to bewitch and drowne bis Majestie in the Sea comming from Denmarke, with other such wonderful Matters as the like bath not bin beard at anie Time. Published according to the Scottish Copie. Printed for William Wright:“ — and that all they together went to sea, each one in a riddle or cive, and went in the same very substantially with flaggons of wine, making merrie and drinking by the way in the same riddles or cives,” &c. Dr. Farmer found the title of this scarce pamphlet in an interleaved copy of Maunsell's Catalogue, &c. 1595, with additions by Archbishop Harsenet and Thomas Baker the Antiquarian. It is almost needless to mention that I have since met with the pamphlet itself. Steevens. .
7 And, like a rat without a tail,] It should be remembered, (as it was the belief of the times,) that though a witch could assume the form of any animal she pleased, the tail would still be wanting.
The reason given by some of the old writers, for such a defi. ciency, is, that though the bands and feet, by an easy change,
I 'll do, I 41 do, and I 'll do.8
2 Witch. I 'll give thee a wind.
1 Witch. I myself have all the other;
might be converted into the four paws of a beast, there was still no part about a woman which corresponded with the length of tail common to almost all our four-footed crcatures. Steevens.
• I'll do, I'll do, and I'll do.
Thus do go about, about ;- ] As I cannot help supposing this scene to have been uniformly metrical when our author wrote it, in its present state I suspect it to be clogged with interpolations or mutilated by omissions.
Want of corresponding rhymes to the foregoing lines induce me to hint at vacuities which cannot be supplied, and intrusions which (on the bare authority of conjecture) must not be expelled.
Were even the condition of modern transcripts for the stage understood by the public, the frequent accidents by which a poet's meaning is depraved, and his measure vitiated, would need no illustration. Stecvens.
9 I'll give thee a wind.] This free gift of a wind is to be consicièred as an act of sisterly friendship, for witches were supposed to sell them. So, in Summer's last Jill and Testamert, 1600:
" in Ireland and Denmark both,
“ Shall blow him safe unto what coast he will." Drayton, in his Moon-calf, says the same. It may be hoped, however, that the conduct of our witches did not resemble that of one of their relations, as described in an Appendix to the old translation of Marco. Paolo, 1579: “-- they demanded that he should give then a winde; and he shewed, setting his handes behinde, from whence the wind should come," &c. Steevens.
1 And the very ports they blow,] As the word very is here of no other use than to fill up the verse, it is likely that Shakspeare wrote various, which might be easily mistaken for very, being either negligently read, hastily pronounced, or imperfectly heard. Fohnson.
The very ports are the exact ports. Very is used here (as in a thousand instances which might be brought) to express the declaration more emphatically.
Instead of ports, however, I had formerly read points ; but er. roneously. In ancient language, to blow sometimes means to blow upon. So, in Dumain's Ode in Love's Labour's Lost:
I the shipman's card to shor.
“ Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow; --" i. e. blow upon them. We still say it blows East or West, without a preposition. Steevens.
The substituted word was first given by Sir W. D'Avenant, who, in his alteration of this play, has retained the old, while at the same time he furnished Mr. Pope with the new, reading;
“ I myself have all the other.
- the shipman's card. So, in The Microcosmos of John Davies, of Hereford, 4to. 1605 :
“ Beside the chiefe windes and collaterall
“ All which are pointed out upon the carde." The card is the paper on which the winds are marked under the pilot's needle; or perhaps the sea.chart, so called in our author's age. Thus, in The Loyal Subject, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
“ The card of goodness in your minds, that shews you
“ When you sail false.” Again, in Churchyard's Prayse and Reporte of Maister Martyne Forboisber's Voyage to Meta Incognita, &c. 12mo. Bi 1. 1578: “ There the generall gaue a speciall card and order to his captaines for the passing of the straites,” &c. Steevens.
s dry as bay:] So, Spenser, in his Faery Queen, B. III, c. ix :
“ But he is old and withered as bay.” Steevens. to Sleep shall, neither night nor day,
Hang upon his pent-house lid,] So, in The Miracles of Moses, by Michael Drayton:
“ His brows, like two steep pent-houses, hung down
“Over his eye-lids." There was an edition of this poem in 1604, but I know not whether these lines are found in it. Drayton made additions and alterations in his pieces at every re-impression. Malone.
5 He shall live a man forbid :) i. e. as one under a curse, an interdiction. So, afterwards in this play:
“By his own interdiction stands accursd.” So, among the Romans, an outlaw's sentence was, Aquæ et Ignis interdictio; i. e. he was forbid the use of water and fire, which implied the necessity of banishment. Theobald.
Weary sev'n-nights, nine times nines,
Mr. Theobald has very justly explained forbid by accursed, but without giving any reason of Ris interpretation. To bid is originally to pray, as in this Saxon fragment:
He ir pis p bit y bote, &c.
He is wise that prays and makes amends. As to forbid therefore implies to probibit, in opposition to the word bid in its present sense, it signifies by the same kind of op. position to curse, when it is derived from the same word in its primitive meaning. Johnson.
To bid, in the sense of to pray, occurs in the ancient MS. ro. mance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 78:
" Kinge Charles kneled adown
“ To that lorde that deyde on rode.” .
It may be added that “bitten and Verbieten, in the German, signify to pray and to interdict." S.W.
6 Shall be dwindle, &c.]. This mischief. was supposed to be putin execution by means of a waxen figure, which represented the person who was to be consumed by slow degrees. So, in Webster's Dutchess of Malfy, 1623:
“ - it wastes me more
“ In some foul dunghill.” So Holinshed, speaking of the witchcraft practised to destroy ting Duffe:
“i found one of the witches roasting upon a wooden broch an image of wax at the fire, resembling in each feature the king's person, &c. .." for as the image did waste afore the fire, so did the hodie of the king break forth in sweat. And as for the words of the inchantment, they served to keep him still waking from sleepe,” &c. This may serve to explain the foregoing passage:
“ Sleep shall neither night nor day
“ Hang upon his pent-house lid.” Steevens. 7 Though his bark cannot be.lost,
let it shall be tempest-toss'd. So, in Newes from Scotland, &c. a pamphlet already quoted : “ Againe it is confessed, that