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Gru. Why, Jack boy! ho boy!? and as much news as thou wilt.8
Curt. Come, you are so full of conycatching:
Gru. Why, therefore, fire; for I have caught extreme cold. Where's the cook? is supper ready, the house trimmed, rushes strewed, cobwebs swept; the serving-men in their new fustian, their white stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on? Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without, the carpets laid, and every thing in order?
Curt. All ready; And therefore, I pray thee, news ?3
Fack boy! ho boy!] Is the beginning of an old round in three parts. Sir J. Hawkins.
as thou wilt.] Old copy-wilt thou. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
their white stockings,] The old copy reads—the white. Corrected by the editor of the third folio. Malone.
Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without,] i. e. are the drinking vessels clean, and the maid servants dressed? But the Oxford editor alters it thus:
Are the Facks fair without, the Fills fair within ? What his conceit is in this, I confess I know not. Warburton.
Sir T. Hanmer's meaning seems to be this: “ Are the men who are waiting without the house to receive my master, dress. ed; and the maids, who are waiting within, dressed too?”
I believe the poet meant to play upon the words Jack and Fill, which signify two drinking measures, as well as men and maid servants. The distinction made in the questions concerning them, was owing to this: The Jacks being of leather, could not be made to appear beautiful on the outside, but were very apt to contract foulness within; whereas, the Jills, being of metal, were expected to be kept bright externally, and were not liable to dirt on the inside, like the leather.
The quibble on the former of these words I find in The Atheist's Tragedy, by C. Tourner, 1611:
have you drunk yourselves mad? “ 1 Ser. My lord, the Facks abus'd me. “ D'Am. I think they are Facks indeed that have abus'd
thee.” Again, in The Puritan, 1607:“I owe money to several hostesses, and you know such jills will quickly be upon a man's jack.” In this last instance, the allusion to drinking measures is evident.
Steevens. the carpets laid,] In our author's time was customary to cover tables with carpets. Floors, as appears from the present passage and others, were strewed with rushes. Malone.
Gru. First, know, my horse is tired; my master and mistress fallen out.
Gru. Out of their saddles into the dirt; And thereby hangs a tale.
Curt. Let's ha't, good Grumio.
[Striking him. Curt. This is to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.
Gru. And therefore 'tis called, a sensible tale: and this cuff was but to knock at your ear, and beseech listening. Now I begin: Imprimis, we came down a foul hill, my master riding behind my mistress :
Curt. Both on one horse? 5
Gru. Tell thou the tale: -But hadst thou not crossed me, thou should'st have heard how her horse fell, and she under her horse; thou should'st have heard, in how miry a place: how she was bemoiled;6 how he left her with the horse upon her; how he beat me because her horse stumbled; how she waded through the dirt to pluck him off me; how he swore; how she prayed that never prayed before;? how I cried; how the horses ran away; how her bridle was burst;8 how I lost my crupper;—with many things of worthy memory; which now shall die in oblivion, and thou return unexperienced to thy grave,
Curt. By this reckoning, he is more shrew than she.
I pray thee, news?] I believe the author wrote- I pray, thy news. Malone. 4 This is - ] Old copy-This ’tis . Corrected by Mr. Pope.
Malone. on one horse.?] The old copy reads—of one horse ?
Steevens. bemoiled;] i. e. be-draggled; bemired. Steevens.
how he swore; how she prayed that never prayed before; ] These lines, with little variation, are found in the old copy of King Leir, published before that of Shakspeare. Steevens.
was burst; i. e. broken. So, in the first scene of this play: “You will not pay for the glasses you have burst.?”
Gru. Ay; and that thou and the proudest of you all shall find, when he comes home. But what talk I of this?-call forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Nicholas, Philip, Walter, Sugarsop, and the rest; let their heads be sleekly combed, their blue coats brushed, and their garters of an indifferent knit:' let them curtsey with their left legs; and not presume to touch a hair of my master's horse-tail, till they kiss their hands. Are they all ready?
Curt. They are.
- he is more shrew than she.) The term shrew was anciently applicable to either sex. Thus, in the ancient metrical rom mance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 66:
“Lest that lurdeynes come skulkynge oute
their blue coats brushed,] The dress of servants at the time. So, in Decker's Belman's Night Walkes, sig. E. 3; 1- the other act their parts in blew coates, as they were their serving men, though indeed they be all fellowes.” Again, in The Curtain Drawer of the World, 1612, p. 2: “ Not a serving man dare appeare in a blew coat, not because it is the livery of charity, but lest he should be thought a retainer to their enemy.” Reed.
-garters of an indifferent knit:] What is the sense of this, I know not, unless it means, that their garters should be fellows : indifferent, or not different, one from the other. Johnson. This is rightly explained. So, in Hamlet :
“As the inuifferent children of the earth." Again, in King Richard II:
“Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye." i. e. an impartial one.
In Donne's Paradoxes, p. 56, Dr. Farmer observes, that we find “one indifferent shoe;" meaning, I suppose, a shoe that would fit either the right or left foot.
So, in Reynolds's God's Revenge against Murder, B. V, Hist. 22: “ Their sister Ceciliana (aged of some twenty years) was of an in. different height, but growing to corpulency and fatness.” Steevens.
"Perhaps by “ garters of an indifferent knit,” the author meant parti-coloured garters; garters of a different knit. In Shakspeare's time indifferent was sometimes used for different. Thus Speed, (Hist. of Gr. Brit. p. 770) describing the French and English ar, mies at the battle of Agincourt, says, “the face of these hoasts were diverse and indifferent.”
That garters of a different knit were formerly worn appears from TEXNÖTAMIA, or the Marriage of the Arts, by Barton Holy. day, 1630, where the following stage direction occurs :
• Phan. tastes in a branched velvet jerkin-red silk stockings, and particoloured garters.” Malone.
Gru. Call them forth.
Curt. Do you hear, ho? you must meet my master, to countenance my mistress.
Gru. Why, she hath a face of her own.
Gru. Thou, it seems; that callest for company to countenance her.
Curt. I call them forth to credit her.
Enter several Servants.
Nath. All things is ready:3 How near is our master?
Gru. E'en at hand, alighted by this; and therefore be not, -Cock's passion, silence ! -I hear my master,
Enter PETRUCHIO and KATHARINA. Pet. Where be these knaves? What, no man at door,
3 All things is ready:) Though in general it is proper to correct the false concords that are found in almost every page of the old copy, here it would be improper; because the language suits the character. Malone. 4 Enter Petruchio &c.] Thus, the original play:
Enter Ferando and Kate. " Feran. Now welcome Kate. Wheres these villaines, “Heere? what, not supper yet upon the boord ! “Nor table spread, nor nothing done at all! “ Where's that villaine that I sent before?
“ San. Now, adsum, sir.
« Feran. Come hither you villaine ; Ile cut your nose “ You rogue: help me off with my bootes: wil 't please “You to lay the cloth? Sowns the villaine “Hurts my foote: pull easily I say: yet againe ?
[He beats them all. They cover the boord, and fetch in the meate. "Sowns, burnt and scorch't! who drest this meate ? " Will. Forsooth, John Cooke. [He throwes downe the table and meate, and all, and beates
them all. “ Feran. Goe, you villaines ; bring me such meate ?
To hold my stirrup, nor to take my horse?
All Serv. Here, here, sir; here, sir.
Pet. Here, sir! here, sir! here, sir! here, sir!
Gru. Here, sir; as foolish as I was before.
Gru. Nathaniel's coat, sir, was not fully made; And Gabriel's pumps were all unpink'd i' the heel; There was no link to colour Peter's hat,
« Out of my sight,
say, and bear it hence. “Come, Kate, wee 'l have other meate provided; “ Is there a fire in my chamber, sir? * San. I, forsooth.
[Exeunt Feran. and Kate. “ Manent serving men, and eate up all the meate. “ Tom. Sownes, I thinke of my conscience my master's madde since he was married.
“ Will. I laft what a box he gave Sander “For pulling off his bootes?
“ Enter Ferando again. * San. I hurt bis foot for the nonce, man. “ Feran. Did you so, you damned villaine!
(He beates them all out again. « This humour must I hold me to a while, “ To bridle and holde back my head-strong wife, “ With curbes of hunger, ease, and want of sleepe: “Nor sleep nor meate shall she enjoy to-night; “ Ile mew her up as men do mew their bawkes, “ And make her gently come unto the lewre: “ Were she as stubborne, or as full of strength “ As was the Thracian horse Alcides tamde, “That king Egeus fed with flesh of men, “ Yet would I pull her downe and make her come, “ As hungry hawkes do fie unto their lewre.”
Steevens. 5 — at door,) Door is here, and in other places, used as a dissyllable. Malone.
- no link to colour Peter's hat,] A link is a torch of pitch. Greene, in his Mihil Mumchance, says --" This cozenage is used likewise in selling old hats found upon dung-hills, instead of newe, blackt over with the smoake of an old linke.” Steedens.