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other motives suspected. Congreve makes twelve thousand pounds more than a counterbalance to the affectation of Belinda. No poet would now fly his favourite character at less than fifty thousand.
JOHNSON. 468. If opportunity and humblest suit] Dr. Thirlby imagines, that our author with more propriety wrote,
If importunity and humblest suit. I have not ventur'd to disturb the text, because it may mean, “ If the frequent opportunities you find of solliciting my father, and your obsequiousness to him, cannot get him over to your party,” &c. THEOBALD.
472. I'll make a shaft or bolt on't:) To make a bolt or a shaft of a thing is enumerated by Ray, in his collection of proverbial phrases.
REFD. 494. -come cut and long tail, -] i. e, come poor, or rich, to offer himself as my rival. The fol. lowing is the origin of the phrase. According to the forest laws, the dog of a man, who had no right to the privilege of chace, was obliged to cut, or law his dog, among other modes of disabling him, by depriving him of his tail. A dog so cut was called a cut, or curt-tail, and by contraction cur. Cut and long tail therefore signified the dog of a clown, and the dog of a gentleman.
Again, in The first Part of the Eighth liberal Science, entituled Ars Adulandi, &c. devised and compiled by Ulpian Fulwell, 1576:"yea, even their very dogs, Rug, Rig, and Risbie, yea, cut and long taile, they shall be welcome,”
-come cut and long tail,----] I can see no meaning in this phrase. Slender promises to make his mistress a gentlewoman, and probably means to say, he will deck lier in a gown of the court-cut, and with a long train or tail. In the comedy of Eastward Hoe, is this passage : " The one must be ladyfied forsooth, and be attired just to the court cut and long tayle ;" which seems to justify our reading–Court cut and long tail.
SIR J. HAWKINS. -Come cut and long-tail,-) This phrase is often found in old plays, and seldom, if ever, with any variation. The change therefore proposed by Sir John Hawkins cannot be received without great violence to the text. Whenever the words occur, they always bear the same meaning, and that meaning is obvious enough without any explanation. The origin of the phrase may however admit of some dispute, and it is by no means certain that the account of it, here adopted by Mr. Steevens from Doctor Johnson, is well founded. That there ever existed such a mode of disqualifying dogs by the laws of the forest as is here asserted, cannot be acknowledged without evidence, and no authority is quoted to prove that such a custom at any time prevailed, The writers on this subject are totally silent as far as they have come to my knowledge. Manhood who wrote on the Forest Laws before they were entirely disused, mentions expeditation or cutting off three claws of the fore-foot, as the only manner of lawing, dogs; and with his account the Charter of the Forest seems to agree. Were
I to offer a conjecture, I should suppose that the phrase originally referred to horses, which might be denominated cut and long-tail, as they were curtailed of this part of their body, or allowed to enjoy its full growth; and this might be practised according to the difference of their value, or the uses to which they were put. In this view, cut and long-tail would include the whole species of horses good and bad. In support of this opinion it may be added, that formerly a cut was a word of reproach in vulgar colloquial. abuse, and I believe is never to be found applied to horses but to those of the worst kind. After all, i any authority can be produced to countenance Dr Johnson's explanation, I shall be very ready to retract every thing that is here said. See also note onthe Match at Midnight. Dodsley's Collection of Old , Plays, Vol. VII. p. 424. Edit. 1780.
REED. The last conversation I had the honour to enjoy with Sir William Blackstone was on this subject; and by a series of accurate references to the whole collection of ancient Forest Laws, he convinced me of our repeated error, expeditation and genuscission, being the only established and technical modes ever used for disabling the canine species. Part of the tails of spaniels indeed are generally cut off (ornamenti gratia) while they are puppies, so that (admitting a loose description) every kind of dog is comprehended in the phrase of. cut and long-tail, and every rank of people in the same expression, if metaphorically used.
513. happy man be his dole!) a prover. bial expression. See Ray's collection, p. 116. edit. 1737
STEEVENS. 536. Anne. Alas, I had rather be set quick i’ the
And bowl'd to death with turnips.] Can we think the speaker would thus ridicule her own im· precation? We may be sure the last line should be given to the procuress, Quickly, who would mock the young woman's aversion for her master the doctor.
WARBURTON. be set quick i the earth, And bowl'd to death with turnips.] This is a common proverb in the southern counties. I find almost the same expression in Ben Johnson's Bartholomew Fair:“ Would I had been set in the ground, all but the head of me, and had my brains bowľd at.”
COLLINS. 547.fool and a physician?] I should read fool or a physician, meaning Slender and Caius.
JOHNSON. Sir Tho. Hanmer reads according to Dr. Johnson's conjecture. This may be right.--Or my
Dame Quickly may allude to the proverb, a man of forty is either a fool or a physician; but she asserts her master to be both.
FARMER. Mr. Dennis, of irascible memory, who altered this play, and brought it on the stage, in the year 1709, under the title of The Comical Gailani, (when, thanks to the alterer, it was fairly dama'd) has introduced
the proverb at which Mrs. Quickly's allusion appears to be pointed.
STEEVENS. -once to-night-] i. e. sometime to-night. So in a letter from the sixth earl of Northumberland (quoted in the notes on the household book of the fifth earl of that name); “ -notwithstanding I trust to be able ons to set up a chapell off mine owne.”
STEEVENS. 557 -speciously—-] She means to say specially.
STEEVENS. 569. In former copies :-as they would have drown'd a blind bitch's puppies, -] I have ventured to transpose the adjective here, against the authority of the printed copies. I know, in horses, a colt from a blind stallion loses much of the value it might otherwise
but are puppies ever drown'd the sooner, for coming from a blind bitch ? The author certainly wrote, as they would have drown'd a blind bitch's puppies.
THEOBALD. The transposition may be justified from the following passage in the Two Gentlemen of Verona : "none that I saved from drowning, when three or four of his blind brothers and sisters went to it.” STEEVENS.
644. Yea, a buck basket-] The old quarto has, -By the lord, a buck-basket, which surely ought to be restored. The editor of the first folio, to avoid the penalty of the statute of King James I. reads -Yea &c. and the editor of the second, which has been followed by the moderns, has made Falstaff desert his own character, and assume the language of a Puritan