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THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
Line 137. An onion -] It is not unlikely that the onion was an expedient used by the actors of interludes.
So in Anthony and Cleopatra:
The tears live in an onion that should water
Line 171. of Burton-heath;-Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot.] I suspect we should read Barton-heath. Barton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Glostershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character.
Line 178. 248.
-I am not bestraught :] i. e. mad.
Is not a commonty, a Christmas gambol, or a tumbling trick?] Thus the old copies; the modern ones read, It is not a commodity, &c. Commonty for comedy, &c.
Line 9. -ingenious-] I rather think it was written ingenuous studies, but of this and a thousand such observations there is little certainty. JOHNSON.
Line 18. Virtue, and that part of philosophy—] Sir Thomas Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read to virtue; but formerly ply and apply were indifferently used, as to ply or apply his studies.
Line 32. rules of Aristotle. Line 80. A pretty peat!] Peat or pet is a word of endearment from petit, little, as if it meant pretty little darling.
-Aristotle's checks,] are, I suppose, the harsh
-so strange?] That is, so odd, so different
from others in your conduct.
Line 101. cunning men,] Cunning had not yet lost its original signification of knowing, learned, as may be observed in the translation of the Bible.
-I will wish him to her father.] Wish means
Line 144. Happy man be his dole !] A proverb, signifying, may his lot be happy.
Line 167. Redime, &c.] Our author had this line from Lilly, which I mention, that it may not be brought as an argument of his learning. JOHNSON.
longly-] Probably it means longingly. 208. Basta:] i. e. 'tis enough; Italian and Spanish.
213. -port,] Port, is figure, show, appearance.
303: what he 'leges in Latin.] i. e. I suppose, what he alleges in Latin. Petruchio has been just speaking Italian to Hortensio, which Grumio mistakes for the other language. STEEVENS
Line 328. Where small experience grows. But, in a few,] In a few means the same as in short, in few words. JOHNSON. Line 345. (as wealth is burthen of my wooing dance,) The burthen of a dance is an expression which I have never heard; the burthen of his wooing song had been more proper.
Line 346. Be she as foul as was Florentius' love,] Dr. Farmer supposes this alludes to the story of a Florentine, which is to be found in the Thousand notable Things of Thomas Lupton.
Line 389. —an' he begin once, he 'll rail in his rope-tricks.] Rhetorick (as Hanmer reads) agrees very well with figure in the succeeding part of the speech, yet I am inclined to believe that rope-tricks is the true 'word, JOHNSON.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
In Romeo and Juliet Shakspeare uses ropery for therefore certainly wrote rope-tricks.
Line 391. -stand him-] i. e. oppose him.
roguery, and STEEVENS.
393. -that she shall have no more eyes to see withal than a cat.] The humour of this passage I do not understand. This animal is remarkable for the keenness of its sight.
It may mean, that he shall swell up her eyes with blows, 'till she shall seem to peep with a contracted pupil like a cat in the light.
Well seen in musick,] i. e. well skilled. 496. -with bugs.] i. e. with bug-bears.
So in Cymbeline,
The mortal bugs o' th' field.
Line 571. Please you, we may contrive this afternoon,] The word contrive is used in the same sense of spending or wearing out in the Palace of Pleasure.
-to keep you fair.] I wish to read, To keep you
fine. But either word may serve. Line 28. -hilding- -] The word hilding or hinderling, is a low wretch; it is applied to Catherine for the coarseness of her behaviour.
JOHNSON. Line 109. -this small packet of Greek and Latin books :] It may be here noticed, that in the time of queen Elizabeth, the education of young ladies was not confined like the present, but they were instructed in the learned languages; of which, repeated examples are to be found in the Biographical Dictionary of Women.
Line 165. -her frets,] A fret is the stop of a musical instrument, by which the vibration is regulated.
Line 190. As morning roses newly wash'd with dew:] See a similar image in Milton's Allegro,
"And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew.”
Line 219. A joint-stool.] This is a proverbial expression, "Cry you mercy, I took you for a join'd stool."
See Ray's Collection.
Line 232. Ay, for a turtle; as he takes a buzzard.] Perhaps we may read better,
Ay, for a turtle; and he takes a buzzard.
That is, he may take me for a turtle, and he shall find me a hawk.
Line 256. 351.
-a craven.] i. e. a coward, a recreant.
-'tis a world to see,] A rustic expression,
meaning it is wonderful or curious to see.
Line 353. A meacock wretch-] i. e. a cowardly creature. But thine doth fry.] The same thought occurs in A Woman never Vex'd,
"My old dry wood shall make a lusty bonfire, when thy green chips lie hissing in the chimney-corner."
—counterpoints,] i. e. counterpanes formerly composed of patch-work, and sometimes esteemed of great value.
-young gamester,] Gamester here means a
frolicksome fellow, not one addicted to gambling.
Line 451. Yet I have faced it with a card of ten.] That is, with the highest card, in the old simple games of our ancesSo that this became a proverbial expression. So Skelton.
Fyrst pycke a quarrel, and full out with him then,
And so outface him with a card of ten. WARBURTON. As we are on the subject of cards, it may not be amiss to take notice of a common blunder relative to their names. We call the king, queen, and knave, court-cards, whereas they
ACT III.] THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
were anciently denominated coats, or coat-cards, from their coats or dresses. STEEVENS.
Line 1. It appears to have been customary during the earlier representation of theatrical pieces to call up the fool (who was always considered as a necessary and important appendage to the company) to entertain the audience between the acts; and the fool, being the favourite of the vulgar, or, as we now phrase it, the upper gallery, was naturally expected.
Line 18. ———no breeching scholar—] i.e. no school-boy liable to correction on the posteriors.
—pantaloon.] The old cully in Italian farces JOHNSON.
53. Pedascule,] He would have said Didascale, but thinking this too honourable, he coins the word Pedascule, in imitation of it, from pedunt.
Line 67. -but I be deceived,] i. e. unless I be deceived. Line 112. -full of spleen ;] That is, full of humour, caprice, and inconstancy. JOHNSON. Line 148. A pair of boots-one buckled, another laced; an old rusty sword ta'en out of the town armory, with a broken hilt, and chapeless; with two broken points.] How a sword should have two broken points, I cannot tell. There is, I think, a transposition caused by the seeming relation of point to sword. I read, a pair of boots, one buckled, another laced with two broken points; an old rusty sword—with a broken hilt, and chapeless. JOHNSON.
-that have been candle-cases.] That is, I suppose, boots long left off, and after having been converted into cases to hold the ends of candles, returning to their first office. STEEVENS.