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"My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a property, "and a little vinegar to make our devil roar †."
The shoulder of mutton was indeed necessary afterwards for the dinner of Petruchio, but there is no devil in the piece, neither were the players yet informed what comedy they should represent. STEEV.
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 alewife 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 Very probably too, this fat ale-wife STEEVENS.
enemy, Justice Shallow. might be a real character.
Line 178. 248.
-I am not bestraught:] i. e. mad. -leet,] As the Court leet, or courts of the manor. JOHNSON. Line 307. 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. STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Line 9. -ingenious-] I rather think it was written ingenuous studies, but of this and a thousand such observations there is little certainty. JOHNSON.
+a little vinegar to make our devil roar.] When the acting the mysteries of the Old and New Testament was in vogue; at the representation of the mystery of the Passion, Judas and the Devil made a part. And the Devil, wherever he came, was always to suffer some disgrace, to make the people laugh: as here the buffoonery was to apply the gall and vinegar to make him roar. And the Passion being that, of all the mysteries, which was most frequently represented, vinegar became at length the standing implement to torment the devil; and used for this purpose even after the mysteries ceased, and the moralities came in vogue; where the Devil continued to have a considerable part. The mention of it here was to ridicule so absurd a circumstance in these old farces.
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. JOHNSON. -Aristotle's checks,] are, I suppose, the harsh rules STEEVENS.
Line 32. 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. JOHNSON. Line 88. -so strange ?] That is, so odd, so different from others in your conduct. JOHNSON. 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. JOHNSON. -I will wish him to her father.] Wish means to
Line 116. recommend.
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.
Line 170. -longly-] Probably it means longingly.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 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. STEEV.
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. JOHNSON.
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 356. -aglet-baby;] diminutive, the tag of a point. POPE.
-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.
In Romeo and Juliet Shakspeare uses ropery for roguery, and therefore certainly wrote rope-tricks. STEEVENS.
stand him-] i. e. oppose him.
Line 391. 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. JOHNSON.
Line 412. Well seen in musick,] i. e. well skilled. 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. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 18. -to keep you fair.] I wish to read, To keep you fine. But either word may serve. JOHNSON.
hilding-] The word hilding or hinderling, is a low wretch; it is applied to Catharine 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. JOHNSON. 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. -a craven.] i. e. a coward, a recreant. -351.
-tis a world to see,] A rustic expression, mean
ing it is wonderful or curious to see.
Line 353. A meacock wretch-] i. e. a cowardly creature.
381. 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." STEEVENS.
Line 395. -counterpoints,] i. e. counterpanes formerly composed of patch-work, and sometimes esteemed of great value. Line 446.. -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 ancestors. So that this became a proverbial expression. So Skelton,
Fyrst pycke a quarrel, and fall 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 were anciently denominated coats, or coat-cards, from their coats or dresses.
ACT III. SCENE I.
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..
53. Pedascule,] He would have said Didascale, but
thinking this too honourable, he coins the word Pedascule, in imitation of it, from pedant. WARBURTON.
Line 67. —but I be deceived,] i. e. unless I be deceived.
ACT III. SCENE II.
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 shapeless; 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. Line 148. 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. STEEV. Line 155. infected with the fashions,past cure of the fives.] Fashions. So called in the west of England, but by the best writers on farriery, farcins, or farcy.
Fives. So called in the west: vives elsewhere, and avives by the French; a distemper in horses, little differing from the strangles. GREY.
a crupper of velure,] Velure from velours, French, is
Line 169. -stock-] means stocking.
-171. An old hat, and the humour of forty fancies prick'd in't for a feather:] This was some ballad or drollery of that time, which the poet here ridicules, by making Petruchio prick it up in his foot-boy's old hat for a feather. WARBURTON.
—to digress ;] To deviate from any promise. JOHNSON.
quaff'd off the muscadel,] It appears from this passage, and another called The History of the two Maids af Moreclacke, a comedy, by Robert Armin, 1609, that it was the custom to drink wine immediately after the marriage ceremony. STEEV. -my horse, my ox, my ass,] An allusion to the
Line 346. tenth commandment.