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To go with us into the abbey here,
5 Twenty-five years -] In former editions:
Thirty-three years. 'Tis impossible the poet should be so forgetful, as to design this number here; and therefore I have ventured to alter it to twenty-five, upon a proof, that, I think, amounts to demonstra. tion. The number, I presume, was at first wrote in figures, and, perhaps, blindly; and thence the mistake might arise. Ægeon, in the first scene of the first Act, is precise as to the time his son left him, in quest of his brother:
“My youngest boy, and yet my eldest care,
“ After his brother;" &c. And how long it was from the son's thus parting from his father, to their meeting again at Ephesus, where Ægeon, mistakenly, recognizes the twin-brother, for him, we as precisely learn from another passage, in the fifth Act:
“ Æge. But seven years since, in Syracusa, boy,
“ Thou know'st we parted : So that these two numbers, put together, settle the date of their birth beyond dispute. Theobald.
nor, till this present hour,] The old copy reads--and till The emendation was made by Mr. Theobald. Burden, in the next line, was corrected by the editor of the second folio.
Malone. 7 and
with me;) We should read:
and gaude with me; i.e. rejoice, from the French, gaudir. Warburton.
The sense is clear enough without the alteration. The Revisal offers to read, more plausibly, I think:
joy with me. Dr. Warburton's conjecture may, however, be countenanced by the following passage in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540:-“ I have good cause to set the cocke on the hope, and make gaudye chere.” Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, sc. xi:
“Let's have one other gaudy night.”
After so long grief, such nativity !8 Duke. With all my heart, I'll gossip at this feast. [Eseunt Duke, Abb. Æge. Cour. Mer. Ang.
and Attendants. Dro. S. Master, shall I fetch your stuff from ship
board? Ant. E. Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou em
bark'd? Dro. S. Your goods, that lay at host, sir, in the Cen
taur. Ant. S. He speaks to me; I am your master, Dromio: Come, go with us; we 'll look to that anon: Embrace thy brother there, rejoice with him.
[Exeunt Ant. S. Ant. E. ADR. and Luc. Dro. S. There is a fat friend at your master's house, That kitchen'd me for you to-day at dinner; She now shall be my sister, not my wife. Dro. E. Methinks, you are my glass, and not my
Dro. S. Not I, sir; you are my elder.
Dro. S. We will draw cuts for the senior: till then, lead thou first.
Dro. E. Nay, then thus: We came into the world, like brother and brother; And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another.
In the novel of M. Alberto, of Bologna, the author adviseth gentlewomen “to beware how they contrive their holyday talke, by waste words issuing forth their delicate mouths in carping, gauding, and jesting at young gentlemen, and speciallye old men," &c. Palace of Pleasure, 1582, Vol. I, fol. 60. Steevens. 8 After so long grief, such nativity!! We should surely read:
After so long grief, such festivity. Nativity lying so near, and the termination being the same of both words, the mistake was easy. Johnson.
The old reading may be right. She has just said, that to her, her sons were not born till now. Steevens:
9 On a careful revision of the foregoing scenes, I do not hesitate to pronounce them the composition of two very unequal writers. Shakspeare had undoubtedly a share in them; but that the entire play was no work of his, is an opinion which (as Be
nedick says) “fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake." Thus, as we are informed by Aulus Gellius, Lib. III, cap. 3, some plays were absolutely ascribed to Plautus, which in truth had only been (retractatæ et expolitæ) retouched and polished by him.
In this comedy we find more intricacy of plot than distinction of character; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in great measure how the denouement will be brought about. Yet the subject appears to have been reluctantly dismissed, even in this last and unnecessary scene, where the same mistakes are continued, till their power of affording entertainment is entirely lost. Steevens.
The long doggrel verses that Shakspeare has attributed in this play to the two Dromios, are written in that kind of metre which was usually attributed, by the dramatick poets before his time, in their comick pieces, to some of their inferior characters; and this circumstance is one of many that authorize us to place the preceding comedy, as well as Love's Labour's Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew, (where the same kind of versification is likewise found) among our author's earliest productions; com. posed probably at a time when he was imperceptibly infected with the prevailing mode, and before he had completely learned “to deviate boldly from the common track.” As these early pieces are now not easily met with, I shall subjoin a few extracts from one of them :
LIKE WILL TO LIKE.
1568. “Royst. If your name to me you will declare and showe, “ You may in this matter my minde the sooner knowe.
“ Tos. Few wordes are best among freends, this is true, “ Wherefore I shall briefly show my name unto you. “Tom Tospot it is, it need not to be painted, “Wherefore I with Raife Roister must needs be acquainted," &c.
COMMONS CONDITIONS. *
[About 1570.] “Shift. By gogs bloud, my maisters, wee were not best longer
here to staie, “I thinke was never suche a craftie knave before this daie.
[Exeunt Ambo. “ Cond. Are thei all gone? Ha, ha, ha, wel fare old Shift at a
neede: “By his woundes had I not devised this, I had hanged indeede. “ Tinkers, (qd you) tinke me no tinks; Ile meddle with them no “I thinke was never knave so used by a companie of tinkers be
* This dramatick piece, in its entire state, has not been met with. The only fragment of it known to be existing, is in my possession, Steevens.
“ By your leave Ile bee so bolde as to looke about me and spie,
My tinkerly slaves are packed hence, as farre as I maie see.” &c.
PROMOS AND CASSANDRA.
1578. “The wind is yl blows no man's gaine; for cold I neede not
care, “ Here is nine and twentie sutes of apparel for my
share; “ And some, berlady, very good, for so standeth the case, “ As neither gentleman nor other Lord Promos sheweth any
grace ; “But I marvel much, poore slaves, that they are hanged so soone, “ They were wont to staye a day or two, now scarce an after
THE THREE LADIES OF LONDON.
1584. " You think I am going to market to buy rost meate, do ye not? “I thought so, but you are deceived, for I wot what I wot: “ I am neither going to the butchers, to buy veale, mutton, or
beefe. “But I am going to a bloodsucker, and who is it? faith Usurie, that theefe." THE COBLER'S PROPHECY.
1594. “Quoth Niceness to Newfangle, thou art such a Jacke, “ That thou devisest fortie fashions for my ladie's backe. “ And thou, quoth he, art so possesst with everie frantick toy, “That following of my ladie's humour thou dost make her coy. “For once a day for fashion-sake my lady must be sicke, “ No meat but mutton, or at most the pinion of a chicke: “ To-day her owne haire best becomes, which yellow is as gold, “ A periwig is better for to-morrow, blacke to behold: “ To-day in pumps and cheveril gloves to walk she will be bold, “ To-morrow cuffes and countenance, for feare of catching cold: “ Now is she barefast to be seene, straight on her muffler goes; “ Now is she hufft up to the crowne, straight nusled to the nose.' See also Gammer Gurton's Needle, Damon and Pythias, &c.
END OF VOL. VI.
T. S. Manning, Printer, No. 143, N. Third Street.