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he being “ ordinary grome of her majesties chamber," and Robert Greene, who “ plaide his master's prize at Leadenhall with three weapons," &c. The book from which these extracts are made is a singular curiosity, as it contains the oaths, customs, regulations, prizes, summonses, &c. of this once fashionable society. K. Henry VIII. K. Edward VI. Philip aud Mary, l. Elizabeth, were frequently spectators of their skill and activity.
STEEVENS. 277: -three veneys for a dish, &c.] i. e. three venues, French. Three different set-to's, bouts, a tech. nical term. So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster :
-“ thou wouldst be loth to play half dozen venies at Wasters with a good fellow for a broken head." Again, in The Two Maids of More-clacke, 1609: “ This was a pass, 'twas fencer's play, and for after veny, let me use my skill.” So in The famous Hist. &c. of Capt. Tho. Stukely, 1605:-" for forfeits and venneys, given upon a wager at the ninth button of your doublet."
Again, in the MSS mentioned in the preceding note, “and at any prize whether it be maister's prize, &c. whosoever doth strike his blowe and close with all, the prizer cannot strike his blowe after agayne shall wynne no game for any veneye so given although it should break the prizer's head." STEEVENS. 287. That's meat and drink to me now:
-] Deckar has this proverbal phrase in Satiromastix: “Yes faith, 'tis meat and drink to me."
-Sackerson--] Sackerson is likewise the name of a bear in the old comedy of Sir Giles Goosecap.
STEEVENS. Sacarson was the name of a bear that was exhibited in our author's time at Paris Garden. See an old collection of Epigrams [by Sir John Davis) printed at Middlebourgh (without date, but in or before 1598):
“ Publius, a student of the common law,
-that it pass'd: -] It pass’d, or this passes, was a way of speaking customary heretofore, to signify the excess, or extraordinary degree of any thing. The sentence completed would be, This passes all expression, or perhaps, This passes all things. We still use passing well, passing strange.
WARBURTON, 296. By cock and pye, -] See a note on act v. sc. 1. Henry IV.
STEEVENS. 321. -Bully-rook.] This seems to have been the reading of some editions : in others it is a bullyrock. Mr. Steevens's explanation of it as alluding to chess-men is right. But Shakspere might possibly have given it bully-rock, as rock is the true name of these men, which is softened or corrupted into took. There is seemingly more humour in bully-rock.
--Keisar,-] The preface to Stowe's Chronicle observes, that the Germans use the K for C, pronouncing Keysar for Cæsar, their general word for an emperor.
--a wither'd servingman, a fresh tapster :] This not improbably a parody on the old proverb“A broken apothecary, a new doctor.” See Ray's Proverbs, 3d edit. p. 2.
STÉEVENS. 338. O base Gongarian wight! &c.] This is a parody on a line taken from on of the old bombast plays, beginning,
“O base Gongarian, wilt thou the distaff wield ?” I had marked the passage down, but forgot to note the play.
The folio reads Hungarian.
Hungarian is likewise a cant term. So in the Merry Devil of Edmonton, 1626, the merry Host says,
“ I have knights and colonels in my house, and must tend the Hungarians.” Again :
“ Come ye Hungarian pilchers." Again, in Westward Hoe, 1607:
“ Play you louzy Hungarians." Again, in News from Hell, wrought by the Devil's Carrier, by Thomas Decker, 1606: “ -the leanejaw'd Hungarian would not lay out a penny pot of sack for himself.”
STEEVENS. The Hungarians, when infidels, over-ran Germany and France, and would have invaded England, if they could have come to it. See Stowe, in the year 930,
and Holinshed's invasion of Ireland, p. 56. Hence their name might become a proverb of baseness. Ştowe's Chronicle, in the year 1492, and Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. p. 610, spell it Hongarian (which might be misprinted Gongarian); and this is right according to their own etymology. Hongyars i.e. domus suæ strenui defensores.
TOLLET. The word is Gongarian in the first edition, and should be continued, the better to fix the allusion.
-humour of it.] This speech is partly taken from the corrected copy, and partly from the slight sketch in 1602. I mention it, that those who do not find it in either of the common old editions, may not suspect it to be spurious. STEEVENS.
346. ---at a minute's rest.] Our author probably
at a minim's rest.
LANGTON. This conjecture scems confirmed by a passage in Romeo and Juliet :
-rests his minim,” &c. It
may however mean, that, like a skilful harquebuzier, he takes a good aim, though he has rested his piece for a minute only. So in Daniel's Civil Wars, &c. b. vi. “ To set up's rest to venture now for all."
STEEVENS. At a minute's rest.] A minim was anciently, as the term imports, the shortest note in musick. Its
measure was afterwards, as it is now, as long as while two may be moderately counted. In Romeo and Juliet, act ii. Mercutio says of Tibalt, that in fighting he rests his minim, one, two, and the third in your bosom. A minute contains sixty seconds, and is a long time for an action supposed to be instantaneous. Nym means to say, that the perfection of stealing is to do it in the shortest time possible.
SIR J. HAWKINS. Nym, I think, means to say, 'Tis true; Bardolph did not keep time, did not steal at the critical and exact season when he would probably be least observed. The true method is, to steal just at the instant when wutchfulness is off its guard, and reposes but for a moment.
The reading proposed by Mr. Langton certainly corresponds more exactly with the preceding speech ; but Shakspere scarcely ever pursues his metaphors far.
MALONE. 348. Convey, the wise it call : -] So in the old morality of Hycke Scorner, bl. 1. no date :
Syr, the horesones could not convaye clene; “ For an they could have carried by craft as I can," &c.
STEEVENS. 354. Young ravens must have food.] An adage. See Ray's Proverbs.
STEEVENS. 361. -about no waste;
--] I find the same play on words in Heywood's Epigrams,