Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

lieve us : If they would yield us but the superfluity, while it were wholesome, we might guess, they relieved us humanely : ; but they think, we are too dear : the leanness that afficts us, the object of our misery, is as an inventory to particularize their abung dance ; our sufferance is a gain to them.- Let us revenge this with our pikes, + ere we become rakes:

[ocr errors]

z but they think, we are too dear :] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth. JOHNSON.

3 Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere. we become rakes :] It was Shakespeare's design to make this fellow quibble all the way, But time, who has done greater things, has here stifled a miserable joke ; which was then the same as if it had been now wrote, Let us now revenge this with forks, ere we become rakes: for pikes then fignified the same as forks do now, So Jewel in his own translation of his Apology, turns Christianos ad furcas condemnare, tom To condemn Christians to the pikes. But the Oxford editor, without knowing any thing of this, has with great fagacity found out the joke, and reads on his own authority, pitch-forks.

WARBURTON. ere we become rakes :) It is plain that, in our authour's time, we had the proverb, as lean as a rakea Of this proverb the ori. ginal is obscure. Rake now signifies a dissolute man, a man worn out with disease and debauchery. But the

fignification is, I thinky much more modern than the proverb. Rækel, in Iflandick, is said to mean a cur-dog, and this was probably the first use among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dog too worthlefs to be fed. JOHNSON.

It may be fo: and yet I believe the proverb, as lean as a rakez owes its origin fimply to the thin taper form of the instrument made use of by hay-makers. Chaucer has this fimile in his de: fcription of the clerk's horse in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, late edit. v. 288 :

66 As lene was his hors as is a rake." Spenser introduces it in the second book of his Faery Queen, Canto II:

66 His body lean and meagre as a rake." As thin as a whipping-post, is another proverb of the same kind.

Stanyhurft, in his tranflation of the third book of Virgil, 1982, describing Achæmenides, fayş :

A meigre leane rake, &c.” This passage seems to countenance Dr. Johnson's fuppofition.

STEEVENS.

[merged small][ocr errors]

for the gods know, I speak this in hunger for bread, not in thirst for

revenge. 2 Cit. Would you proceed especially against Caius Marcius?

All. Against him first; he's a very dog to the commonalty.

2 Cit. Consider you what services he has done for his country?

i Cit. Very well ; and could be content to give him good report for't, but that he pays himfelf with being proud. All

. Nay, but speak not maliciously. 1 Cit. I say unto you, what he hath done famously, he did it to that end : though soft-conscienc'd men can be content to say, it was for his country, he did it to please his mother, and to be partly proud ; which he is, even to the altitude of his virtue.

2 Cit. What he cannot help in his nature, you account a vice in him : You must in no way fay, he is covetous.

i Cit. If I must not, I need not be barren of accusations; he hath faults, with surplus, to tire in repetition. [Shouts within.] What shouts are these? The other fide o'the city is risen : Why stay we prating here? to the Capitol.

All. Come, come.
1 Cit. Soft ; who comes here?

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Enter Menenius Agrippa. 2 Cit. Worthy Menenius Agrippa ; one that hath always lov'd the people. I Cit. He's one honest enough ; 'Would, all the

reft were fo!
Men. What work's, my countrymen, in hand ?

Where go you
With bats and clubs? The matter? Speak, I pray

you.

[ocr errors]

2 Cit.

2 Cit. Our business is not unknown to the senate; they have had inkling, this fortnight, what we intend to do, which now we'll shew 'em in deeds. They say, poor suiters have strong breaths ; they shall know, we have strong arms too. Men. Why, masters, my good friends, mine honest

neighbours, Will you undo yourselves ?

2 Cit. We cannot, fir, we are undone already,

Men. I tell you, friends, most charitable care Have the patricians of you. For your wants, Your suffering in this dearth, you may as well Strike at the heaven with your staves, as lift them Against the Roman state ; whose course will on The way it takes, cracking ten thousand curbs Of more strong link afunder, than can ever Appear in your impediment : For the dearth, The gods, not the patricians, make it ; and Your knees to them, not arms, must help. Alack, You are transported by calamity Thither where more attends you; and you

flander The helms o'the state, who care for you like fathers, When you curse them as enemies.

2 Cit. Care for us !—True, indeed !- They ne'er car'd for us yet. Suffer us to famish, and their storehouses cramm'd with grain ; make edicts for usury, to support usurers : repeal daily any wholesome act established against the rich ; and provide more piercing statutes daily, to chain up and restrain the poor. If the wars eat us not up, they will; and there's all the love they bear us.

Men. Either you must
Confess yourselves wond'rous malicious,
Or be accus'd of folly. I shall tell you
A pretty tale; it may be, you have heard it ;
But, since it serves my purposes, I will venture

Το

I will venture
To scale't a little more.]

Thus

To scale't a little more.

2 Cit. Well, I'll hear it, fir : yet you must not Thus all the editions, as Mr. Theobald confesses, who alters it to ftale't. And for a good reason, because he can find no fenfe (he says) in the common reading. For as good a reason, I, who can, have restored the old one to its place. To scale't fignifying to weigh, examine, and apply it. The author uses it again, in the fame sense, in this very play :

Scaling his present bearing with his paft. "And so, Fletcher, in The Maid of the Mill:

* What scale my invention before band? you shall pardoz me for tbat,"

WARBURTON. Neither of Dr. Warburton's examples afford a sense congruous to the present occasion. In the passage quoted, to scale may be to weigh and compare, but where do we find that scale is to apply ? If we scale the two criticks, I think Theobald has the advantage.

JOHNSON To fcale is to difperfe. The word is still used in the North. If emendation were at all necessary, Theobald's is as good a one as could be proposed. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.

A measure of wine spilt, is called " a scald pottle of wine" in Decker's comedy of The Honest Whore, 1635. So, in The Hyftorie of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. a play pub56 The hugie heapes of cares that lodged in my

minde “ Are skaled from their nestling place, and pleasures pal

fage find.” Again, in Deckar's Honest Whore, already quoted:

Cut off his beard." Fye, fye ; idle, idle ; he's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scal'd hair."' In the North they say scale the corn, i.e. scatter it: scale the muck well, i.e. spread the dung well. The two foregoing instances are taken from Mr. Lambe's notes on the old metrical history of Floddon Field.

Again, Holinshed, vol. ii. p. 499, speaking of the retreat of the Welchmen during the absence of Richard II. fays':

66-they would no longer abide, but scaled and departed away.” So again, P: 530 : " -whereupon their troops sealed, and fled their waies." In the Glossary to Gawin Douglas's Tranflation of Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scapigliare, crines paffos, feu fparlos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus sfibeveler, Schevel, skail; but of a more general signification.

STEEVENS.

lished in 1999;

think to fob off our disgrace with a tale : but, an't please you, deliver. Men. There was a time, when all the body's mem

bers
Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :-
That only like a gulf it did remain
I’ the midst o' the body, idle and unactive,
Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing,
Like labour with the rest ; 7 where the other inftru.

ments
Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel,
And mutually participate, did minister
Unto the appetite and affection common
Of the whole body. The belly anfwer'd,

2 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Which ne'er came from the lungs, but even thus,
(For, look you, I may make the belly smile,
As well as speak) it tauntingly reply'd
To the discontented members, the mutinous parts
That envy'd his receipt; ' even so most fitly
As you malign our senators, for that
They are not such as you.

2 Cit. Your belly's answer : What! The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye, · The counsellor heart, the arm our soldier, Our fteed the leg, the tongue our trumpeter, With other muniments and petty helps In this our fabrick, if that they

7

disgrace with a tale :] Disgraces are hardships, injuries.

JOHNSON, -where the otber instruments] Where for whereas.

Johnson. 8 Which ne'er came from the lungs, -] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt. Johnson.

even so most fitly,] i. e. exactly. WARBURTON. . The counsellor heart, -j The heart was anciently eiteemed the seat of prudence. Homo cordatus is a prudent man.

JOHNSON.

Men.

9

« ForrigeFortsett »