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Bel's priests 4 in the old church window; sometime, like the shaven Hercules in the fmirch'd wormeaten tapestry, where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?
Con. All this I fee; and fee, that the fashion wears out more apparel than the man: But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou haft shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion ?
like god Bel's priefts -] Alluding to some aukward representation of the story of Bel and the Dragon, as related in the Apocrypha. Steevens.
- Sometime, like the Maven Hercules, &c. ] By the shaven Hercules is meant Sampson, the usual subjeđ of old tapestry. In this ridicule on the fashion, the poet has not unarifully given a stroke at the barbarous workmanship of the commou tapestry hangings, then so much in use. The same kind of raillery Cervantes has employed on the like occasion, when he brings his knight and 'íquire to an inn, where they found the story of Dido and Æneas represented in bad tapestry. On Sancho's teeing the tears fall from the eyes of the forsaken queen as big as walnuts, he hopes that when their atchievements became the general subje& for these forts of works, that fortune will send them a better artist. What authorised the poet to give this name to Sampson was the folly of certain Christian mythologists, who preiend that the Greciau Hercules was the Jewish Sampfon. The retenue of our author is to be commended: The sober audience of that time would have been offended with the mention of a venerable name on fo light an occasion. Shakspeare is indeed sometimes licentious in these matters: But to do him justice, he generally seems to have a sense of religion, and to be under its influence. What Pedro says of Benedick, in this comedy, may be well enough applied to him : The man doth fear God, however it seems not to be in him by some large jests he will make. WARBURTON.
I believe that Shakspeare knew nothing of these Christian mythologists, and by the shaven Hercules meant only Hercules when Jhaved to make him look like a woman, while he remained in- the service of Omphale, his Lydian mistress. Had the Jhaven Hercules been meant to represent Sampson, he would probably have been equipped with a jaw bone instead of a club. STEEVENS.
- Smirch'd -- ] Smirch'd is foiled, obscured. So, in As you Like it, Ad 1. sc. iii : is And with a kind of umber smirch my face." STEEVENS.
BORA. Not so neither: but know, that I have tonight wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero; she leans'me out at her mistress' chamber window, bids me a thousand times good night,- I tell this tale vilely :---I should first tell thee, how the prince, Claudio, and my master, planted, and placed, and possessed by my mafler Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable encounter.
Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero ?
Bora. Two of them did, the prince and Claudio;. but the devil my master knew she was Margaret; and partly by his oaths, which first possessed them, partly by the dark night, which did deceive them, but chiefly by my villainy, which did confirm any flander that Don John had made,' away went Claudio enraged; swore he would meet her as he was appointed, next morning at the temple, and there, þesore the whole congregation, shame her with what he saw over-night, and send her home again without a husband.
1 WATCH. We charge you in the prince's name, iland.
2 WATCH. Call up the right master conftable: We have here recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth.
1 WATCH. And one Deformed is one of them; I know him, he wears a lock. 6 Con. Masters, masters, ?
wears a lock. ] So, in The Return from Parnasus, 1606 : 5. He whose thiv fire dwells in a smoky roofe,
" Must take tobacco, and must wear a lock." See Dr. Warburton's note, A& V. sc. i. STEEVENS.
? Con. Masters, mafters, &c.] In former copics : Con. Majiers,
2 WATCH. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.
1 WATCH. Never speak; we charge you, let us abey you to go with us.
Bora. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's bill's. 8
Con. A commodity in question,' I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
(Exeunt, SCENE IV:
A Room in LEONATO's House. Enter Hero, MARGARET, and URSULA. Hero. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and defire her to rise.
URS. I will, lady.
2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant gou. Con. Masters never speak, we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
The regulation which I have made in this last speech, though against the authority of all the printed copies, I Hattet myself, carries its proof, with it. Conrade and Borachio are not designed to talk absurd nonsense. It is evident therefore, that Conrade is attempting his own justification ; but is interrupted in it by the impertinence of the men in office. THEOBALD. ,
- a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's bills. ] Here is a cluster of conceits. Commodity was formerly as now, the usual term for an article of merchandise. To take up, befides its common meaning, (to apprehend,) was the phrase for obtaining goods on credit. - If a man is thorough with them in honest taking up, (says Faltaff,) then they must stand upon security." Bill was the term both for a single bond, and a halberd.
We have the same conceit in King Henry VI. P. II : “ My lord, When shall we go to Cheapfide, and take up commodities upon our kills ?". MALONE.
9. A commodity in question, ] i. c. a commodity subje& to judicial trial or examination. Thus Hooker: 16 Whosoever be found guilty, the communion book hath deserved least to be called in question for this fanit,” STREVENS.
HERO. And bid her come hither.
[Exit URSULA. Marg. Troth, I think, your other rabato 'were better.
HERO. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.
Marg. By my troth, it's not so good; and I warrant, your cousin will say fo.
Hero. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another; l'll wear none but this.
Marg. I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought browner :' and your gown's a most rare fashion, i'faith. I saw the duchess of Milan's gown, that they praise fo.
Hero. O, that exceeds, they say.
rabato -] An ornament for the neck, a collar-band or kind of ruff. Fr. Rabat. Menage faith it comes from rabattre, to put back, because it was at first nothing but the collar of the shirt or shift turn'd back towards the shoulders. T. HAWKINS.
This article of dress is frequently mentioned by our ancient comic writers. So, in the comedy of Law Tricks, &c. 1608:
66 Broke broad jests upon her narrow heel,
66 Pok'd her rabatoes, and survey'd her steel." Again, in Decker's Guls Hornbook, 1609: - " Your stiff-necked rebatoes ( that have more arches for pride to row under, than can stand under five London-bridges) durst not then," &c.
Again, in Decker's Untrusing the Humorous Poet: What a miserable thing it is to be a noble bride! There's such delays in rising, in fitting gowns, in pinning rebatoes, in poaking," &c.
The first and last of these passages will likewise serve for an additional explanation of the poking-sticks of steel, mentioned by Autolycus in The Winter's Tale. STEEVENS.
if the hair were a thought browner :) i. c. the false hair attached to the cap; for we learn from Stubbes's Anatomie of Abuses, 1595, p. 40, that ladies were " not simplie content with their own haire, but did buy up other haire either of horses, mares, or any other strange beasts, dying it of what collour they list themselves."
respect of yours: Cloth of gold, and cuts, and laced with silver; set with pearls, down fleeves, fidefleeves, and skirts round, underborne with a bluish tinsel: but for a fine, quaint, graceful, and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on’t.
fide-sleeve's, ] Side-Sleeves, I believe, mean long ones. So, in Greene's Farewell to Follie, 1617 : “As great felfe-love lurketh in a side-gowne, as in a Mort armour.” Again, in Laneham's Account of Queen Elizabeth's entertainment at KenelworthCastle, 1575, the minitrel’s.“gown had side-sleeves down to the midleg,” Clement Pafton ( See Pafton Letters, - Vol. I. p. 145, 2nd edit.) had ' a short blue gown that was made of a fide-gown."i. e. of a long one. Again, in The laft Voyage of Captaine Frobisher, by Dionyse Setile, 12 mo. bl. 1. 1577: “ They make their apparell with hoodes and tailes, &c. The men have them not so syde as the women.”
Such long fleeves, within my memory, were worn by children, and were called hanging Neeves; a term which is preserved in a line, I think, of Dryden.
6. And miss in hanging-sleeves now shakes the dice." Side or syde in the North of England, and in Scotland, is used for long when applied to a garment, and the word has the same fignification in the Anglo-Saxon and Danish. Vide Glossary to Gawaine Douglas's Virgil. To remove an appearance of tautólogy, as down-sleeves may seem synonymous with side-sleeves , a comma must be taken out, and the passage printed thus
66 Set with pearls down fleeves, or down th' sleeves.' The second paragraph of this' note is copied from the Edinburgh Magazine, for Nov. 1786. STEEVENS.
Side-sleeves were certainly long-leeves, as will appear from the following instances. Stowe's Chronicle, p. 327, tempore Hen. I: - This time was used exceeding pride in garments, gownes with deepe and broad sleeves commonly called poke sleeves, the servants ware them as well as their masters, which might well have been called the receptacles of the devil, for what they stole they hid in their fleeves, whereof some hung downe to the feete, and at least to the knees, full of cuts and jagges, whereupon were made these verses : ['i. e. by Tho. Hoccleve. ]
6. Now hath this land little neede of broomes
" To sweepe away the filth out of the streete,' " Sen side-sleeves of pennilesse groomes
" Will it up licke be it dric or weete." Again, in Fitzherbert's Book of Husbandry : " Theyr cotes be so Syde that they be fayne to tucke them up whan they ride, as women do theyr kyrtels whan they go to the market," &c. Reed.