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NATH. Truly, master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least : But, fir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.”
Hol. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
Hol. Molt barbarous intimation! yet a kind of insinuation, as it were, in via, in way,
of explication ; facere, as it were, replication, or, rather, oftentare, to show, as it were, his inclination,-after his undreffed, unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather unlettered, or, rathereft, unconfirmed fashion,--to insert again my haud credo for a deer.
Dull. I said, the deer was not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.
Hol. Twice sod fimplicity, bis coclus !O thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
NATH. Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were ; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not
3 But, fir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head
'twas a pricket.] In a play, called The Return from Parnassus, 1666, I find the following account of the different appellatio is of deer, at their different ages :
- Amoretto. I caused the keeper to sever the rascal deer from the bucks of the first head. Now, for, a buck is the first year, a fawn; the second year, a PRICKET; the third year, a SORRELL; the fourth year, a soare;' the fifth, a buck of the FIRST HEAD; the fexté year, a compleat buck. Likewise your hart is the first year, a calje ; the second year, a brocket; the third year, a spade; the fourth year, a slag; the sixth year, a hart. A roe-buck is the first year, a kid; the second year, a gird; the third year, a hemuse; and these are your special beasts for chase.'
Again, in A Christian turnid Turk, 1612 : --- I am but a pricket, a more sorell; my head's not harden'd yet. STIEVING.
Teplenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts; And such barren plants are set before us, that we
thankful should be ( Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts
that do fructify in us more than he. For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet,
or a fool, So, were there a patch set on learning, to see him
in a school : 6
s And Such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be ( Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts that do fruflify
in us more than he.] The length of these lines was no novelty on the English stage. The Moralities afford scenes of the like measure. JOHNSON.
This stubborn piece of nonsense, as somebody has called it, wants only a particle, I think, to make it sense. I would read:
" And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful
should be, " (Which we of taste and feeling are,) for those parts, that da
fru&ify in us more than he. Which in this passage has the force of as, according to an idiom of our language, not uncommon, though not ftrialy grammatical, What follow's is still more irregular; for I am afraid our poet, for the sake of his rhyme, has, put he for him, or rather in him. If he had been writing prose, he would have expressed his meaning, I be, lieve, more clearly thus -- that do fru&ify in us more than in him.
TYRWHITT. The old copies read. - which we tafte and feeling -" &c. I have placed Mr. Tyrwhitt's emendation in the text. STEEVENS.
Some examples confirming Dr. Johnson's observation may be found at the end of The Comedy of Errors.
Mr. Tyrwhitt's last observation is fully supported by a subsea quent passage:
and then we,
MALONE, 6 For as it would ill become me to be voin, indiscreet, or a fool,
So, were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school:] The meaning is, to be in a school would as ill become a patch, or low fellow, as folly would becomc mc. JOHNSON.
But, omne bene, say I; being of an old father's mind, Many can brook the weather, that love not the wind. DULL. You two are book-men: Can
you tell by
What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not
five weeks old as yet? Hol. Dictynna,' good man Dull; Dictynna, good man Dull.
Dull. What is Didynna ?
was no more ; And raught nots to five weeks, when he came to
fivescore. The allusion holds in the exchange.
Dull. 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.
Hol. God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allufion holds in the exchange.
Dull. And I say the pollusion holds in the exchange; for the moon is never but a month old: and I say beside, that 'twas a pricket that the princess kill'd.
9 Di@ynna, ] Old Copies — Di&tisma. Corre&ed by Mr. Rowe.
MALONE. Shakspeare might have found this uncommon title for Diana, in the second book of Golding's tranlation of Ovid's Metamorphosis : “ Di&ynna garded with her traine, and proud of killing deere."
STEEVENS. 8 And raught not ] i. e. Teach'd not. So, in The Arraignment of Paris, 1584:
the fatal fruit
STEEVENS. The allusion holds in the exchange, ] i. c. the riddle is as good when I use the name of Adam, as when you use the name of Cain.
Hol. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on the death of the deer? and, to humour the ignorant, I have call'd the deer the princess kill'di a pricket.
NATH. Perge, good inafter Holofernes, perge; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.
Hol. I will something affect the letter;? for it
thicket, Or pricket, fore, or else forel; the people fall a-hootIf fore be fore, then I to fore makes. fifty fores ; 0
Of one fore I an hundred make, by adding but one more L.
I have-] These words were inserted by Mr. Rowe.
Spenser in "affecting the ancietis writ no language; yet I would have him read for bis matter; but as Virgil read Ennius."
STEEVENS. 4 The praiseful princess - ] This emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. "The quarto, 1598,' and folio, 1623, read corruptly -- prayful. MALONE.
The ridicule deligded in this passage may not be unhappily illustrated by tlie alliteration in the following lines of Ulpian tillwell, in his Commemoration of queen Anne Bullayne, which makes part of a colle&ion called The Flower of Fame, printed, 1575:
so Whose princely praise hath pearst ihe pricke,
NATH. A rare talent!
DULL. If a talent be a claw, 'look how he claws him with a talent.
Hol. This is a gift that I have, simple, fimple; a foo.ish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, re. volutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and deliver'd upon the mellowing of occasion: But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I ain thankful for it.
NATH. Sir, I praise the Lord for you; and lo may my parishioners; for their sons are well tutor'd by you, and their daughters profit very greatly under you: you are a good member of the commonwealth.
Hol. Mehercle, if their sons be ingenious, they shall want 110 inftruction: if their daughters be capable, ' I will put it to them: But, vir sapit, qui pauca loquilur: a foul feminine faluteth us.
This correâion (says Mfr. Malone ) is confirmed by the rhyme: “ A deer (he adds) during his third year is called a forell.
STEEVENS. s If a talent be a claw, &c.] In our author's time the talon of a bird was frequently written talent. Hence the quibble here, and in Twelfth Night, “ -- let t'em use their talents. So, in The Firft • Part of the Contention between the houses of York and Lancafier, 1600 :
" Are you the kite, Beaufort? where's your talents?". Again, in Marlowe's Tamberluine, 15go:
and now doth ghaitly death
MALONI. claws hem with a talent. ] Honeft Dull quibbles. of the senses of 10 claw, is to flatter. So, in Much odo about 80thing: laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour. STEEVENS.
7 or if their daughiers be capable, &c.] Of this double entendre, despicable as it is, Mr. Pope and his coadjutors availed themselves, in their unsuccessful comedy called Three Hours after Marriage.