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Again, in Lady Alimony:
" What humourous tomboys be these?
“ The only gallant Messalinas of our age. It appears, from several of the old plays and ballads, that the ladies of pleasure, in the time of Shakspere, often wore the habits of young men. So, in an ancient bl. let. ballad, entitled The Stout Criple of Cornwall :
“ And therefore kept them secretlie
“ To feede his fowle desire,
“ In Page's trim attyre.
“ A purple bleeding heart,
“ The same in twaine to part.
“ Thus private was his pleasure;
“ Did wast away his treasure Verstegan, however, gives the following etymology of the word tomboy : “ Tumbe, to dance, Tumbod, danced; heerof wee yet call a wench that skippeth or leapeth lyke a boy, a tomboy: our name also of tumbling cometh from hence.”
STEEVENS. 720. -hir'd with that self-exhibition] Gross strumpets, hired with the very pension which you allow your husband.
JOHNSON 723. -such boil'd stuff,] So in the Old Law by Massinger:
-look parboild, “ As if they came from Cupid's scalding-house."
STEEVENS. I believe the meaning is,—such corrupted stuff; from the substantive boil. So, in Coriolanus :
-boils and plagues “ Plaster you o'er!”
MALONE, 741. Let me my service tender on your lips.] Perhaps this is an allusion to the ancient custom of swearing servants into noble families. So in Caltha Poëtarum, &c. 1599:
-she swears him to his good abearing, “ Whilst her faire sweet lips were the books of swearing."
STEEVENS. 753. As in a Romish stew,–] Romish was, in the time of Shakspere, used instead of Roman. There were stews at Rome in the time of Augustus. The same phrase occurs in Claudius Tiberius Nero, 1607,
-my mother deem'd me chang'd, “ Poor woman! in the loathsome Romish stewes:' and the author of this piece seems to have been a scholar. Again, in Wit in a Constable, by Glapthorne, 1640,
“ A Romish cirque, or Grecian lippodrome.” Again, in Tho. Drant's translation of the first epistle of second book of Horace, 1567, “ The Romishe people wise in this, in this point only just."
SreeVENS. 771. He sits 'mongst men, like a descended god:]
The reading of the text, which was furnished by the second folio, is supported by a passage in Hamlet:
-A station like the herald Mercury, “ New lighted, on a heaven-kissing hill." The first folio reads, -like a defended god.
MALONE. 794. -being strange,] i. c. being a stranger.
Line 2. Kiss'd the jack upon an up-cast —] He is describing his fate at bowls. The jack is the small bowl at which the others are aimed. He who is nearest to it wins. To kiss the jack is a state of great advantage.
JOHNSON. This expression frequently occurs in the old comedies. So, in A Woman never vex’d, by Rowley, 1632, “ This city bowler has kiss'd the mistress at the first cast."
Steevens. 13. No, my lord ; &c.] This, I believe, should stand thus :
1 Lord. No, my Lord. 2 Lord. Nor crop the ears of them. Aside.
24. with your comb on.] The allusion is to a fool's 'cap, which hath a comb like a cock's.
JOHNSON. 27. -every companion-] The use of companion was the same as of fellow now. It was a word of contempt.
Johnson. 63. --he'd make! -] In the old editions,
-heeldis equally the abridgement of he would.
77. From fairies, &c.] In Macbeth is a prayer like
“ Restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature “ Gives way to in repose !"
STEEVENS. 8o, our Tarquin] The speaker is an Italian.
JOHNSON. 81. Did softly press the rushes, -] It was the custom in the time of our author to strew chambers with rushes, as we now cover them with carpets. The practice is mentioned in Caius de Ephemera Britannica.
JOHNSON Shakspere has the same circumstance in his Råpe of Lucrece :
-by the light he spies
“ He takes it from the rushes where it lies,” &c. So, in Tho. Newton's Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587,- Sedge and rushes,—with the which many in this country do use in sommer time to strawe their parlours and churches, as well for coolenes as for pleasant smell."
83. How bravely thou becom'st thy bed! fresh lily!
And whiter than the sheets ! --] So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“ Who sees his true love in her naked bed,
“ Teaching the sheets a whiter hue than white." Again, in the Rape of Lucrece : “ Who o'er the white sheets peers her whiter chin.”
-'Tis her breathing that Perfumes the chamber thus : -] The same hyperbole is found in the Metamorphosis of Pygmalion's Image, by J. Marston, 1598 :
-no lips did seem so fair “In his conceit; through which he thinks doth flie “ So sweet a breath that doth perfume the air."
MALONE. 89. -now canopy'd] Shakspere has the same expression in Tarquin and Lucrece : “ Her eyes, like marigolds, had sheath'd their
MALONE. 99. Under these windows : -] i. e. her eyelids. So, in Romeo and Juliet :
-Thy eye's windows fall, " Like death, when he shuts up the day of life.” Again, in his Venus and Adonis :
“ The night of sorrow now is turn'd to day ;