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(Thus, leaning on mine elbow, I begin,)
* First folio, Absey. 9 - like an ABC-BOOK :] An ABC-book, or, as they spoke and wrote it, an absey-book, is a catechisn. Johnson. So, in the ancient Interlude of Youth, bl. 1. no date :
“ In the A. B. C. of hokes the least,
“ Yt is written, Deus charitas est.” Again, in Tho. Nash's dedication to Greene's Arcadia, 1616 : “ - make a patrimony of In speech, and more than a younger brother's inheritance of their Abcie." STEEVENS.
And so, ere answer knows what question would,
(Saving in dialogue of compliment;] Sir W. Cornwallis's 28th Essay thus ridicules the extravagance of compliment in our poet's days, 1601 : “We spend even at his (i. e. a friend's or a stranger's) entrance, a whole volume of words.- What a deal of synamon and ginger is sacrificed to dissimulation! •0, how blessed do I take mine eyes for presenting me with this sight! O Signior, the star that governs my life in contentment, give me leave to interre myself in your arms ! --Not so, sir, it is too unworthy an inclosure to contain such preciousness,' &c. &c. This, and a cup of drink, makes the time as fit for a departure as can be." Toilet.
2 For he is but a bastard to the time, &c.] He is accounted but a mean man, in the present age, who does not show, by his dress, his deportment, and his talk, that he has travelled, and made observations in foreign countries. The old copy,
in the next line, reads-smoak. Corrected by Mr. Theobald. MALONE.
Exterior form, outward accoutrement ;
is he? That holds in chase mine honour up and down?
Bast. My brother Robert? old sir Robert's son ? Colbrand' the giant, that same mighty man? Is it sir Robert's son, that you seek so? LADY F. Sir Robert's son! Ay, thou unreverend
boy, Sir Robert's son: Why scorn'st thou at sir Robert ?
3 Which, though -] The construction will be mended, if instead of which though, we read—this though. Johnson.
4 But who comes —] Milton, in his tragedy, introduces Dalilah with such an interrogatory exclamation. Johnson.
- to blow a HORN-] He means, that a woman who travelled about like a post, was likely to horn her husband.
Johnson. 6 — James Gurney.) Our author found this name in perusing the history of King John, who, not long before his victory at Mirabeau, over the French, headed by young Arthur, seized the lands and castle of Hugh Gorney, near Butevant, in Normandy.
MALONE. 7 Colbrand-] Colbrand was a Danish giant, whom Guy of Warwick discomfited in the presence of King Athelstan. The combat is very pompously described by Drayton, in his Polyolbion.
Johnson. Colbrond is also mentioned in the old romance of The Squyr of Lowe Degre, sig. a. iii. :
Or els so doughty of my honde “As was the gyaunte syr Colbronde.” Steevens,
He is sir Robert's son ; and so art thou.
Philip ?-sparrow"!-James, There's toys abroad'; anon I'll tell thee more.
8 Good leave, &c.] Good leave means a ready assent. So, in King Henry VI. Part III. Act III. Sc. II. :
“K. Edw. Lords, give us leave : I'll try this widow's wit.
STEEVENS. 9 Philip ?-sparrow!] Dr. Grey observes, that Skelton has a poem to the memory of Philip Sparrow; and Mr. Pope, in a short note, remarks that a sparrow is called Philip. Johnson.
Gascoigne has likewise a poem entitled, The Praise of Phil Sparrow; and in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601, is the following passage :
“The birds sit chirping, chirping, &c.
Philip is treading, treading,” &c. Again, in The Northern Lass, 1633 :
" A bird whose pastime made me glad,
“ And Philip 'twas my sparrow.” Again, in Magnificence, an ancient interlude, by Skelton, published by Rastell : “ With me in kepynge such a Phylyp Sparowe.”
STEEVENS. The Bastard means : Philip! Do you take me for a sparrow?
HAWKINS. The sparrow is called Philip from its note:
Lyly's Mother Bombie. From the sound of the sparrow's chirping, Catullus, in his Elegy on Lesbia's Sparrow, has formed a verb:
Sed circumsiliens modo huc, modo illuc,
Ad solam dominam usque pipilabat. Holt White. 1 There's toys abroad ; &c.] i. e. rumours, idle reports. So, in Ben Jonson's Sejanus :
Toys, mere toys, “ What wisdom's in the streets.” Again, in a postscript of a letter from the Countess of Essex to Dr. Forman, in relation to the trial of Anne Turner, for the mur
Madam, I was not old sir Robert's son;
LADY F. Hast thou conspired with thy brother too, That for thine own gain should'st defend mine ho
nour ? What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave? Bast. Knight, knight, good mother, -Basilisco.
like 4 :
* First folio omits he. der of Sir Tho. O verbury,; ** -- they may tell my father and mother, and fill their ears full of toys.” State Trials, vol. i. p. 322.
STEEVENS. might have eat his part in me
Upon Good-friday, and ne'er broke his fast:] This thought occurs in Heywood's Dialogues upon Proverbs, 1562:
may his parte on good Fridaie eate,
Steevens. (To confess !)] Mr. M. Mason regards the adverb to as an error of the press : but I rather think, to confess, means--to come to confession. But, to come to a fair confession now, (says the Bastard,) could he have been the instrument of my production ?” STEÉVENS.
4 KNIGHT, KNIGHT, good mother, -Basilisco-like :) Thus must this passage be pointed; and to come at the humour of it, I must clear up an old circumstance of stage-history. Faulconbridge's words here carry a concealed piece of satire on a stupid drama of that age printed in 1599, and called Soliman and Perseda. In this piece there is a character of a bragging cowardly knight called Basilisco. His pretension to valour is so blown, and seen through, that Piston, a buffoon-servant in the play, jumps upon his back, and will not disengage him, till he makes Basilisco swear upon his dudgeon dagger to the contents, and in the terms he dictates to him; as, for instance :
What ! I am dubb'd; I have it on my shoulder.
bridge ? Bast. As faithfully as I deny the devil. LADY F. King Richard Coeur-de-lion was thy
Bast. Now, by this light, were I to get again,
“ Bas. O, I swear, I swear. “ Pist. By the contents of this blade,“ Bas. By the contents of this blade, “ Pist. I, the aforesaid Basilisco,“ Bas. I, the aforesaid Basilisco,-knight, good fellow, knight. “ Pist. Knave, good fellow, knave, knave.”. So that, it is clear, our poet is sneering at this play ; and makes Philip, when his mother calls him knave, throw off that reproach by humorously laying claim to his new dignity of knighihood ; as Basilisco arrogantly insists on his title of knight, in the passage above quoted. The old play is an excrecable bad one ; and, I suppose, was sufficiently exploded in the representation : which might make this circumstance so well known, as to become the butt for a stage-sarcasm. THEOBALD.
The character of Basilisco is mentioned in Nash's Have with you to Saffron Walden, &c. printed in the year 1596. Steevens.
5 Thou art -] Old copy--That art. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. MALONE.
6 Some sins-] There are sins that whatever be determined of them above, are not much censured on earth. Johnson.