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ser linen. My father named me Autolycus;' who, being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles: With die, and drab, I purchased this caparison ;' and my revenue is the silly cheat:: Gallows, and knock, are too powerful on the

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“If any heere three ydle people needes,
“ Call us in time, for we are fine for sheetes:
“ Yea, for a shift, to steale them from the hedge,

And lay both sheetes and linnen all to gage.
“We are best be gone, least some do heare alledge

“We are but roages, and clappe us in the cage." Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggars' Bush: To steal from the hedge both the shirt and the sheet.

Steevens. Autolycus means, that his practice was to steal sheets and large pieces of linen, leaving the smaller pieces for the kites to build with. M. Mason.

When the kite builds, look to lesser linen.] Lesser linen is an an. cient term, for which our modern laundresses have substituted small clothes. Steevens.

This passage, I find, is not generally understood. When the good women, in solitary cottages near the woods where kites build, miss any of their lesser linen, as it hangs to dry on the hedge in spring, they conclude that the kite has been marauding for a lining to her nest; and there adventurous boys often find it employed for that purpose. H. White.

My father nam'd me Autolycus ; &c.] Mr. Theobald says, the allusion is unquestionably to Ovid. He is mistaken. Not only the allusion, but the whole speech is taken from Lucian; who appears to have been one of our poet's favourite authors, as may be collected from several places of his works. It is from his discourse on judicial astrology, where Autolycus talks much in the same manner; and 'tis on this account that he is called the son of Mercury by the ancients, namely, because he was born under that planet. And as the infant was supposed by the astrologers to communicate of the nature of the star which predominated, so Autolycus was a thief. Warburton.

This piece of Lucian, to which Dr. Warburton refers, was translated long before the time of Shakspeare. I have seen it, but it had no date. Steevens.

With die, and drab, I purchased this caparison ;] i. e. with gaming and whoring, I brought myself to this shabby dress.

Percy my revenue is the silly cheat:] Silly is used by the wri. ters of our authors time, for simple, low, mean; and in this the humour of the speech consists. I don't aspire to arduous and high things, as Bridewell or the gallows: I am contented with this humble and low way of life, as a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles.




highway:3 beating, and hanging, are terrors to me; for the life to come, I sleep out the thought of it.--A prize! a prize!

Enter Clown. Clo. Let me see:-Every 'leven wether tods;4 every


But the Oxford editor, who, by his emendations, seems to have declared war against all Shakspeare's humour, alters it to the sly cheat. Warburton.

The silly cheat is one of the technical terms belonging to the art of coneycatching or thievery, which Greene has mentioned among the rest, in his treatise on that ancient and honourable science. I think it means picking pockets. Steevens.

3 Gallows, and knock, &c.] The resistance which a highway. man encounters in the fact, and the punishment which he suffers on detection, withhold me from daring robbery, and determine me to the silly cheat and petty theft. Fohnson.

tods ;) A tod is twenty-eight pounds of wool. Percy. I was led into an error concerning this passage by the word tods, which I conceived to be a substantive, but which is used ungrammatically as the third person singular of the verb to tod, in concord with the preceding words-every 'leven wether. The same disregard of grammar is found in almost every page of the old copies, and has been properly corrected, but here is in character, and should be preserved.

Dr. Farmer observes to me, that to tod is used as a verb by dealers in wool; thus, they say: “Twenty sheep ought to tod fifty pounds of wool,” &c. The meaning, therefore, of the Clown's words is: “Every eleven wether tods ; i. e. will produce a tod, or twenty-eight pounds of wool; every tod yields a pound and some odd shillings; what then will the wool of fifteen hundred yield?”

The occupation of his father furnished our poet with accurate knowledge on this subject; for two pounds and a half of wool is, I am told, a very good produce from a sheep at the time of shearing. About thirty shillings a tod is a high price at this day. It is singular, as Sir Henry Englefield remarks to me, that there should be so little variation between the price of wool in Shak. speare's time and the present.-In 1425, as I learn from Kennet's Parochial Antiquities, a tod of wool sold for nine shillings and sixpence. Malone.

Every 'leven wether tods;] This has been rightly expounded to mean that the wool of eleven sheep would weigh a tod, or 2816. Each fleece would, therefore, be 21b. 8oz. 11{dr, and the whole produce of fifteen hundred shorn, 136 tod, 1 clove, 215. 602. 2dr. which at pount and odd shilling per tod, would yield f.143 3 0. Our author was too familiar with the subject to be suspected of inaccuracy.

Indeed it appears from Stafford's Breefe conceipte of English Pollicye, 1581, p. 16, that the price of a tod of wool was at that

tod yields--pound and odd shilling: fifteen hundred shorn,-- What comes the wool to?

Aut. If the springe hold, the cock 's mine. [Aside.

Clo. I cannot do 't without counters.5-Let me see; what I am to buy for our sheep-shearing feast?6 Three pound of sugar; five pound of currants; riceWhat will this sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her mistress of the feast, and she lays it on. She hath made me four-and-twenty nosegays for the shearers: three-man song-men all, and very good ones; but they are most of them means and bases : 8 but one Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes. I must have saffron, to colour the warden pies; 9 mace,



period twenty or two-and-twenty shillings: so that the medium price was exactly “ pound and odd shilling: Ritson.

without counters.] By the help of small circular pieces of base metal, all reckonings were anciently adjusted among the illiterate and vulgar. Thus, Iago, in contempt of Cassio, calls him-counter-caster. See my note on Othello, Act I, sc. i.

Steevens. sheep-shearing feast?] The expense attending these fes. tivities, appears to have afforded matter of complaint. Thus, in Questions of profitable and pleasant concernings, &c. 1594: “If it be a sheep-shearing feast, maister Baily can entertaine you with his bill of reckonings to his maister of three sheapheard's wages, spent on fresh cates, besides spices and saffron pottage.”

Steevens. three-man song-men all,] i.e. singers of catches in three parts. A six-man song occurs in The Tournament of Tottenham. See The Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Vol. II, p. 24. Percy.

So, in Heywood's King Edward IV, 1626: “ call Dudgeon and his fellows, we'll have a three-man song.” Before the come. dy of The Gentle Craft, or the Shoemaker's Holiday, 1600, some of these three-man songs are printed. Steevens.

means and bases: ] Means are tenors. So, in Love's Labour's Lost:

he can sing
A mean most meanly.” Steevens.

warden pies;] Wardens are a species of large pears. I believe the name is disused at present. It however afforded Ben Jonson room for a quibble in his masque of Gypsies Metamorphosed :

" A deputy tart, a church-warden pye." It appears from a passage in Cupid's Revenge, by Beaumont and Fletcher, that these pears were usually eaten roasted:



dates,-none; that 's out of my note: nutmegs, seven; a race, or two, of ginger; but that I may beg ;-four pound of prunes, and as many of raisins o'the sun.

Aut. (), that ever I was born! [Grovelling on the ground. Clo. l'the name of me,'

Aut. (), help me, help me! pluck but off these rags; and then, death, death!

Clo. Alack, poor soul! thou hast need of more rags to lay on thee, rather than have these off.

Aut. O, sir, the loathsomeness of them offends me more than the stripes I have received; which are mighty ones, and millions.

Clo. Alas, poor man! a million of beating may come to a great matter.

Aut. I am robbed, sir, and beaten; my money and apparel ta'en froin me, and these detestable things put upon me.

Clo. What, by a horse-man, or a foot-man?
Aut. A foot-man, sweet sir, a foot-man.

Clo. Indeed, he should be a footman, by the garments he hath left with thee, if this be a horse-man's coat, it hath seen very hot service. Lend me thy hand, I 'll help thee: come, lend me thy hand. [Helping him up.

Aut. O! good sir, tenderly, oh!
Clo. Alas, poor soul.

Aut. O, good sir, softly, good sir: I fear, sir, my shoulder-blade is out.

Clo. How now? canst stand?

Aut. Softly, dear sir; [picks his pocket] good sir, softly: you ha' done me a charitable office.

Clo. Dost lack any money? I have a little money for thee.

Aut. No, good sweet sir; no, I beseech you, sir: I have a kinsman not past three quarters of a mile hence,

66 I would have had him roasted like a warden,

“ In brown paper.” The French call this pear the poire de garde. Steevens.

Barrett, in his Alvearie, voce Warden Tree, [Volemum] says, Volema autem pyra sunt prægrandia, ita dicta quod impleant volam. Reedy

1 ['the name of me,] This is a vulgar exclamation, which I have often heard used. So, Sir Andrew Ague-cheek:-“Before me, she's a good wench.” Stecvens.

unto whom I was going; I shall there have money, or any thing I want: Offer me no money, I pray you; that kills my heart.?

Clo. What manner of fellow was he that robbed you?

Aut. A fellow, sir, that I have known to go about with trol-my-dames:3 I knew him once a servant of the prince; I cannot tell, good sir, for which of his virtues it was, but he was certainly whipped out of the court.

Clo. His vices, you would say; there's no virtue whipped out of the court: they cherish it, to make it stay there; and yet it will no more but abide. *

Aut. Vices I would say, sir. I know this man well: he hath been since an ape-bearer; then a process-server,



that kills my heart.] So, in King Henry V, Dame Quickly, speaking of Falstaff, says—"the king hath killed his heart.

Steevens. with trol-my-dames:] Trou-madame, Fr. The game of nine-holes Warburton.

In Dr. Jones's old treatise on Buckstone Bathes, he says: “The ladyes, gentle woomen, wyves, maydes, if the weather be not agreeable, may have in the ende of a benche, eleven holes made, intoo the which to troule pummits, either wyolent or softe, after their own discretion: the pastyme troule in madame is termed."

Farmer. The old English title of this game was pigeon-holes; as the arches in the machine through which the balls are rolled, resemble the cavities made for pigeons in a dove-house. So, in The Antipodes, 1638:

“ Three-pence I lost at nine-pins; but I got

“ Six tokens towards that at pigeon-holes." Again, in A Wonder, or a Woman never vex'd, 1632: “ What quicksands, he finds out, as dice, cards, pigeon-holes." Steevens.

Mr. Steevens is perfectly accurate in his description of the game of Trou-madame, or pigeon-holes. Nine-holes is quite another thing; thus:

o being so many holes made in the ground, into which o they are to bowl a pellet. I have seen both played

Ritson. This game is mentioned by Drayton in the 14th song of his Polyolbion : “At nine-holes on the heath while they together play."

Steevens. abide.) To abide, here, must signify, to sojourn, to live for a time without a settled habitation. Johnson.

To abide is again used in Macbeth, in the sense of tarrying for a while:

“I'll call upon you straight; abide within." Malone.

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