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Line 180. diversion.
quick recreation] Lively sport, sprightly
Line 188. A man of complements, whom right and wrong Have chose as umpire of their mutiny:] This passage, I believe, means that Don Armado was a man nicely versed in ceremonial distinctions, one who could distinguish in the most delicate questions of honour the exact boundaries of right and wrong. JOHNSON.
Line 193. in the world's debate.] The world seems to be used in a monastick sense by the king, now devoted for a time to a monastick life. JOHNSON.
-fire new words,] i. e. New coined, just forged. -tharborough:] i. e. An under-constable.
216. A high hope for a low having;] The meaning is this. "Though you hope for high words, and should have them,' "it will be but a low acquisition at best." This our poet calls a THEOBALD.
-taken with the manner ] This was the phrase in WARBURTON.
use to signify, taken in the fact.
Line 267. curious knotted garden:] The picturesque of the ancient gardens consisted of figures, of which the lines occasionally intersected each other.
Line 269. -base minnow of thy mirth,] Minnow here means, a contemptibly small object.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 338. dear imp.] Imp was anciently a term of dignity. Lord Cromwel in his last letter to Henry VIII. prays for the imp his son. It is now used only in contempt or abhorrence; perhaps in our author's time it was ambiguous, in which state it suits well with this dialogue. JOHNSON.
Pistol salutes king Henry V. by the same title. STEEVENS. Line 341. -juvenal?] i. e. Youth.
-crosses love not him.] By crosses he means money. So in As you like it, the Clown says to Celia,
"If I should bear you, I should bear no cross.”
Line 387. Moth. And how easy it is to put years to the word
three, and study three years in two words, the dancing-horse will tell you.] Banks's horse, which played many remarkable pranks. Sir Walter Raleigh (History of the World, first part, p. 178) says, "If Banks had lived in older times, he would have shamed all "the enchanters in the world: for whosoever was most famous among them, could never master, or instruct any beast as he did "his horse." Dr. GREY. Banks's horse is alluded to by many writers contemporary with Shakspeare.
Line 443. sessed of.
Which native she doth owe.] i. e. Own, or be pos
Line 446. The King and the Beggar?] See Dr. Percy's collection, in three volumes. STEEVENS.
Line 453. transgression.
my digression-] Digression here means,
-the rational hind Costard;] Means, the reason
ing brute, the animal with some share of reason.
Line 499. It is not for prisoners to be too silent in their words ;]
I suppose we should read, it is not for prisoners to be silent in their wards, that is, in custody, in the holds.
I believe the blunder was intentional.
ACT II. SCENE I
Line 17. Beauty is bought by judgment of the eye,
Not utter'd by base sale of chapmen's tongues.] Chap man here seems to signify the seller, not, as now commonly, the buyer. Cheap or cheping was anciently the market, chapman therefore is marketman. The meaning is, that the estimation of beauty depends not on the uttering or proclamation of the seller, but on the eye of the buyer.
Line 48. Well fitted in the arts,] Is, well qualified.
117. And sin to break it.] The Princess shews an incon
venience very frequently attending rash oaths, which, whether
kept or broken, produce guilt.
On payment, &c.] I have restored, I believe, the genuine sense of the passage. Aquitain was pledged, it seems, to Navarre's father, for 200,000 crowns. The French king pretends to have paid one moiety of this debt, (which Navarre knows nothing of,) but demands this moiety back again: instead whereof (says Navarre) he should rather pay the remaining moiety and demand to have Aquitain re-delivered up to him. This is plain and easy reasoning upon the fact supposed; and Navarre declares, he had rather receive the residue of his debt, than detain the province mortgaged for security of it. THEOBALD.
gelded] Mr. Steevens justly remarks the partiality of Shakspeare for this expression.
Line 228. God's blessing on your beard!] That is, mayst thou have sense and seriousness more proportionate to thy beard, the length of which suits ill with such idle catches of wit. JOHNSON. Line 255. My lips are no common, though several they be.] Several is an enclosed field of a private proprietor, so Maria says, her lips are private property. Of a lord that was newly married one observed that he grew fat; Yes, said Sir Walter Raleigh, any beast will grow fat, if you take him from the common and graze him in the several. Line 274. His tongue, all impatient to speak and not see,] That is, his tongue being impatiently desirous to see as well as speak.
ACT III. SCENE 1.
-festinately hither:] i. e. Hastily.
9. -a French brawl?] A brawl is a kind of dance. Ben Jonson mentions it in one of his masques.
canary to it with your feet.] Canary was the THEOBALD.
name of a sprightly nimble dance.
Line 20. —like a man after the old painting;] It was a common trick, among some of the most indolent of the ancient masters, to place the hands in the bosom or the pockets, or conceal them in some other part of the drapery, to avoid the labour of representing them, or to disguise their own inability. STEEVENS. these betray, &c.] His meaning is, that they
not only inveigle the young girls, but make the men taken notice of too, who affect them. THEOBALD.
Line 28. By my penny of observation.] There was an old tract, called A Penniworth of Wit, to which this alludes.
Line 29. Arm. But 0,-but 0
Moth. The hobby-horse is forgot.] In the celebration of May-day, besides the sports now used of hanging a pole with garlands, and dancing round it, formerly a boy was dressed up representing maid Marian; another like a friar; and another rode on a hobby-horse, with bells jingling, and painted streamers. After the Reformation took place, and precisians multiplied, these latter rites were looked upon to savour of paganism; and then maid Marian, the friar, and the poor hobby-horse, were turned out of the games. Some who were not so wisely precise, but regretted the disuse of the hobby-horse, no doubt, satirized this suspicion of idolatry, and archly wrote the epitaph above alluded to. Now Moth, hearing Armado groan ridiculously, and cry out, But oh! but oh!- -humourously pieces out his exclamation with the sequel of this epitaph. THEOBALD,
Line 32. but a colt,] Colt is a hot, mad-brained, unbroken young fellow; or sometimes an old fellow with youthful desires.
Line 64. You are too swift, Sir, to say so:] The meaning is, You do not give yourself time to think, if you say so. STEEVENS. Line 72. By thy favour, sweet welkin,] Welkin is the sky, to which Armado, with the false dignity of a Spaniard, makes an apology for sighing in its face.
-here's a costard broken] i. e. A head.
82. -no l'envoy ;] The l'envoy is a term borrowed from the old French poetry. It appeared always at the head of a few concluding verses to each piece, which either served to convey the moral, or to address the poem to some particular person. STEEVENS.
Line 127. And he ended the market.] Alluding to the English proverb-Three women and a goose make a market. STEEVENS. Line 153. my incony Jew!] Incony or kony in the north signifies, fine, delicate-as a kony thing, a fine thing.
Line 190. Cost. Guerdon,-] Guerdon, i. e. recompense, reward.
Line 192. in print.] i. e. Exactly, with the utmost nicety. STEEVENS.
This wimpled-] The wimple was a hood or veil,
which fell over the face. Line 205. Dread prince of plackets,] A placket is a petticoat. -207. Of trotting paritors,] An apparitor, or paritor, is an officer of the bishop's court who carries out citations; as citations are most frequently issued for fornication, the paritor is put under Cupid's government. JOHNSON.
Line 208. And I to be a corporal of his field,] A corporal of the field was anciently such an office as that of an aid-du-camp in the present times.
Line 209. And wear his colours like a tumbler's hoop!] The notion is not that the hoop wears colours, but that the colours are worn as a tumbler carries his hoop, hanging on one shoulder and falling under the opposite arm. JOHNSON.
Still a repairing;] To the inartificial construction of these first pieces of mechanism, executed in Germany, we may suppose Shakspeare alludes. The clock at Hampton-Court, which was set up in 1540, (as appears from the inscription affixed to it) is said to be the first ever fabricated in England.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 22. Here, good my glass,] It must be remembered, that in those days it was the fashion among the French ladies to wear a looking-glass, as Mr. Bayle coarsely represents it, on their bellies; that is, to have a small mirror set in gold hanging at the girdle, by which they occasionally viewed their faces or adjusted their hair. JOHNSON.
-a member of the commonwealth.] Here, I believe, is a kind of jest intended; a member of the common-wealth is put for one of the common people, one of the meanest.
-Boyet, you can carve ;
open this capon.] i. e. Open this letter.