Page images

hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.]-I do much wonder, that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn, by falling in love: And such a man is Claudio. I have known, when there was no musick with him but the drum and fife; and now had he rather hear the tabor and the pipe: I have known, when he would have walked ten mile afoot, to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier; and now is he


carving the fashion of a new doublet.] This folly, so conspicuous in the gallants of former ages, is laughed at by all our comic writers. So, in Greene's Farewell to Folly, 1617: "We are almost as fantastic as the English gentleman that is painted naked, with a pair of sheers in his hand, as not being resolved after what fashion to have his coat cut." STEEVENS.


The English gentleman in the above extract alludes to a plate in Borde's Introduction of Knowledge. In Barnaby Riche's Faults and nothing but Faults, 4to. 1606, p. 6, we have the following account of a Fashionmonger: -here comes first the Fashionmonger that spends his time in the contemplation of sutes. Alas! good gentleman, there is something amisse with him. I perceive it by his sad and heavie countenance: for my life his tailer and he are at some square about the making of his new sute; he hath cut it after the old stampe of some stale fashion that is at the least of a whole fortnight's standing."


The English gentleman is represented [by Borde] naked, with a pair of tailor's sheers in one hand, and a piece of cloth on his arm, with the following verses:

"I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here,

[ocr errors]

Musing in my mynde what rayment I shall were,
"For now I will ware this, and now I will were that,
"Now I will were I cannot tell what,” &c.

See Camden's Remaines, 1614, p. 17. MALONE.

turn'd orthographer;' his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair; yet I am well another is wise; yet I am well: another virtuous; yet I am well: but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God.2 Ha! the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour. [Withdraws.

orthographer;] The old copies read-orthography. Corrected by Mr. Pope. STEEVens.

[ocr errors]

and her hair shall be of what colour it please God.] Perhaps Benedick alludes to a fashion, very common in the time of Shakspeare, that of dying the hair.

Stubbes, in his Anatomy of Abuses, 1595, speaking of the attires of women's heads, says: "If any have haire of her owne naturall growing, which is not faire ynough, then will they die it in divers colours." Steevens.

The practice of dying the hair was one of those fashions so frequent before and in Queen Elizabeth's time, as to be thought worthy of particular animadversion from the pulpit. In the Homily against excess of apparel, b. 1. 1547, after mentioning the common excuses of some nice and vain women for painting their faces, dying their hair, &c. the preacher breaks out into the following invective: "Who can paynt her face, and curle her heere, and chaunge it into an unnaturall coloure, but therein doth worke reprofe to her Maker who made her? as thoughe she coulde make herselfe more comelye than God hath appoynted the measure of her beautie. What do these women but go about to refourme that which God hath made? not


D. PEDRO. Come, shall we hear this musick? CLAUD. Yea, my good lord:-How still the evening is,

As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!

D. PEDRO. See you where Benedick hath hid himself?

CLAUD. O, very well, my lord: the musick ended, We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.3

knowyng that all thynges naturall is the worke of God: and thynges disguysed and unnatural be the workes of the devyll," &C. REED.

Or he may allude to the fashion of wearing false hair, "of whatever colour it pleased God." So, in a subsequent scene. "I like the new tire within, if the hair were a thought browner." Fires Moryson, describing the dress of the ladies of Shakspeare's time, says: "Gentlewomen virgins weare gownes close to the body, and aprons of fine linnen, and go bareheaded, with their hair curiously knotted, and raised at the forehead, but many (against the cold, as they say,) weare caps of hair that is not their own." See The Two Gentlemen of Verona. MALone.

The practice of colouring the hair in Shakspeare's time, receives considerable illustration from Maria Magdalene her Life and Repentance, 1567, where Infidelitie (the Vice) recommends her to a goldsmith to die her hair yellow with some preparation, when it should fade; and Carnal Concupiscence tells her likewise that there was "other geare besides goldsmith's water," for the purpose. DOUCE.

Pedro. See you where Benedick hath hid himself?

Claudio. O, very well, my lord: the musick ended,

We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.] i. e. we will be even with the fox now discovered. So the word kid, or kidde, signifies in Chaucer:

"The soothfastness that now is hid,
"Without coverture shall be kid,
"When I undoen have this dreming."

Romaunt of the Rose, 2171, &c.

Enter BALTHAZAR, with musick.

D. PEDRO. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song again."

BALTH. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice To slander musick any more than once.

D. PEDRO. It is the witness still of excellency, To put a strange face on his own perfection :I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.

BALTH. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing: Since many a wooer doth commence his suit

"Perceiv'd or shew'd.

"He kidde anon his bone was not broken."

Troilus and Cressida, Lib. I. 208.

"With that anon sterte out daungere,
"Out of the place where he was hidde;
"His malice in his cheere was kidde."

Romaunt of the Rose, 2130. GREY. It is not impossible but that Shakspeare chose on this occasion to employ an antiquated word; and yet if any future editor should choose to read-hid fox, he may observe that Hamlet has said-" Hide fox and all after." STEEVENS.

Dr. Warburton reads as Mr. Steevens proposes. MALONE. A kid-fox seems to be no more than a young fox or cub. In As you like it, we have the expression of" two dog-apes."


·with musick.] I am not sure that this stage-direction (taken from the quarto, 1600,) is proper. Balthazar might have been designed at once for a vocal and an instrumental performer. Shakspeare's orchestra was hardly numerous; and the first folio, instead of Balthazar, only gives us Jacke Wilson, the name of the actor who represented him. STEEVENS.

Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that song again.] Balthazar, the musician and servant to Don Pedro, was perhaps thus named from the celebrated Baltazarini, called De Beaujoyeux, an Italian performer on the violin, who was in the highest fame and favour at the court of Henry II. of France, 1577. BURNEY.



To her he thinks not worthy; yet he wooes;
Yet will he swear, he loves.


Nay, pray thee, come:

Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,

Do it in notes.


Note this before my notes,

There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. D. PEDRO. Why these are very crotchets that he speaks:

Note, notes, forsooth, and noting!"


BENE. Now, Divine air! now is his soul ravished!-Is it not strange, that sheeps' guts should hale souls out of men's bodies ?-Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.



BALTH. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,"
Men were deceivers ever;

[ocr errors]

One foot in sea, and one on shore;
To one thing constant never:
Then sigh not so,

But let them go,
And be you blith and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of wor

Into, Hey nonny, nonny.

and noting!] The old copies-nothing. The correc

tion was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.

7 Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,]

"Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more."

Milton's Lycidas. STEEVENS,

« PreviousContinue »