ePub 版

Best sing it to the tune of Light o' love3.
Luc. It is too heavy for so light a tune.

JUL. Heavy? belike, it hath some burden then. Luc. Ay; and melodious were it, would you sing it. Jui. And why not you?

Luc. I cannot reach so high.

JUL. Let's see your song:-How now, minion? Luc. Keep tune there still, so you will sing it out: And yet, methinks, I do not like this tune.

JUL. You do not?

Luc. No, madam; tis too sharp.
JUL. You, minion, are too saucy.

Luc. Nay, now you are too flat,

And mar the concord with too harsh a descant": There wanteth but a mean to fill your song.


JUL. The mean is drown'd with your unruly baseR. Luc. Indeed I bid the base for Proteus".


- Light o' love.] This tune is given in a note on Much Ado About Nothing, Act III. Sc. IV. STEEVENS.

6 And mar the concord with too harsh a DESCANT:] Descant signified formerly what we now denominate variations. So in some ancient poem of which I have neglected to preserve the title : “O what a world of descant makes my soul

"Upon the voluntary ground of love!" MALOne. 7 There wanteth but a MEAN-] The mean is the tenor in musick. So, in the Interlude of Marie Magdalen's Repentance, 1569:


"Utilitie can sing the base full cleane,
"And noble honour shall sing the meane."


- with YOUR unruly base.] The only authentick copy of 1623 has, by a mistake of the press, of you unruly base. This typographical errour was corrected in the second folio. MALONE.

9 Indeed, I bid the base for Proteus.] The speaker here turns the allusion (which her mistress employed) from the base in musick to a country exercise, bid the base: in which some pursue, and others are made prisoners. So that Lucetta would intend, by this, to say, Indeed I take pains to make you a captive to Proteus's passion. WARBurton.

Dr. Warburton is not quite accurate. The game was not called bid the base, but the base. To bid the base means here, I believe, "to challenge to an encounter." So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :

JUL. This babble shall not henceforth trouble me. Here is a coil with protestation! [Tears the letter.

[ocr errors]

"To bid the wind a base he now prepares,

"And wh'er he run, or fly, they knew not whether."

Again, in Hall's Chronicle, fol. 98. b: "The Queen marched from York to Wakefield, and bade base to the Duke even before his castle."

: Again, in a letter from Lord Henry Howard to James King of Scotland, Cecil's Correspondence, p. 41, 8vo. 1766:-" It were a vain part for him to contend alone, or to bid base foolishly."

Mr. Todd, in a note on Spencer's Pastoral for September, p. 162, contends that Dr. Warburton is right, and that the game was called "to bid the base; which he infers from the following lines of that poet :


[ocr errors]

Whylome thou wont the shepheard's handes to lead "In rimes, in riddles, and in bidding base."

But, not to insist that the quotation by no means proves what it is supposed to prove, the following instances will decisively shew that the game was called the base, or prison base, or prison bars. The first is found in Cymbeline:"


lads more like to run

"The country base, than to commit such slaughter," Again, in Annalia Dubrensia, 4to. 1636, Signat. C. 4; "Yet was no better than our prison base."

Again, in The Silke Wormes and their Flies, 4to. 1599: "All flies were made ere wormes beganne to peepe,


Both they which all day long at base do play." Again, in the Letting of Humours in the Head-vaine, 8vo. 1600:

"To drinke half pots, or deale at the whole canne ; "To play at base or pen and ynkehorne Sir Jhan." To the same purpose the celebrated Doctor Caius, or Key, in his Treatise On the Sweat," printed by Berthollet, 1552, affords another example: "Tossing the windee balle, skirmish at base, an exercise for a gentleman, much used among the Italians."

On the passage in Cymbeline, Act IV. Sc. II. (above quoted), Mr. Steevens has produced four other instances of the same phraseology: there can therefore, I conceive, be no doubt entertained that the game was called the base, or prison base, or prison bars, and not 66 bidding the base" or "to bid the base."



In further confirmation of what has been here stated, I may add that Coles in his Dictionary, 1679, has prison base, play, diffugium;" and "to bid battle" he renders by "hostem provocare.

[ocr errors]

In Ireland this game is called prison bars. I have often played at it, when a school-boy. MALONE.

Go, get you gone, and let the papers lie:

You would be fingering them, to anger me. Luc. She makes it strange; but she would be best pleas'd

To be so anger'd with another letter.

[Exit. JUL. Nay, would I were so anger'd with the same!

O hateful hands, to tear such loving words!
Injurious wasps; to feed on such sweet honey,
And kill the bees, that yield it, with your stings!
I'll kiss each several paper for amends.

Look, here is writ-kind Julia;-unkind Julia!
As in revenge of thy ingratitude,

I throw thy name against the bruising stones,
Trampling contemptuously on thy disdain.
And here is writ-love-wounded Proteus:-
Poor wounded name! my bosom, as a bed,
Shall lodge thee', till thy wound be throughly heal'd;
And thus I search it with a sovereign kiss.
But twice, or thrice, was Proteus written down":
Be calm, good wind, blow not a word away,
Till I have found each letter in the letter,

Except mine own name; that some whirlwind bear
Unto a ragged, fearful, hanging rock,

And throw it thence into the raging sea!
Lo, here in one line is his name twice writ,—
Poor forlorn Proteus, passionate Proteus,
To the sweet Julia;-that I'll tear away;
And yet I will not, sith so prettily
He couples it to his complaining names:

Mr. Malone's explanation of the verb-bid, is unquestionably just. So, in one of the parts of K. Henry VI. :


"Of force enough to bid his brother battle." STEEVENS. my воSOм, as a BED, shall lodge thee,] So, in Venus and Adonis :


"Here was thy father's bed, here in my breast." MALONE. -written DowN] To "write down," is still a provincial expression for-to write. HENLEY.

Thus will I fold them one upon another;

Now kiss, embrace, contend, do what you will.

Luc. Madam,

Re-enter LUCETTA.

Dinner is ready, and your father stays.

Jul. Well, let us go.

Luc, What, shall these papers lie like tell-tales here?

JUL. If you respect them, best to take them up. Luc. Nay, I was taken up for laying them down: Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold3.

JUL. I see, you have a month's mind to them ".

3 Yet here they shall not lie FOR catching cold.] i. e. lest they should catch cold.

So, in an ancient "Dialogue both pleasaunte and profitable," by Willyam Bulleyn, 1564:


i My horse starteth, and had like to have unsaddled me; let me sit faster, for falling."

Again, in Plutarch's Life of Antony, translated by Sir Thomas North: "So he was let in, and brought to her muffled as he was, for being known," i. e. for fear of being known.

Again, in Peele's K. Edward I. 1503:

"Hold up your torches for dripping."

Again, in Love's Pilgrimage:


Stir my horse, for catching cold."

Again, in Barnabie Riche's "Soldiers Wishe to Britons Welfare, or Captaine Skill and Captaine Pill," 1604, p. 64: "Such other ill-disposed persons, being once press'd, must be kept with continual guard, &c. for running away." STEEVens.

4 I see you have a MONTH'S MIND to them.] A month's mind was an anniversary in times of popery; or, as Mr. Ray calls it, a less solemnity directed by the will of the deceased. There was also a year's mind, and a week's mind. See Proverbial Phrases.

This appears from the interrogatories and observations against the clergy, in the year 1552, Inter. 7: "Whether there are any month's minds and anniversaries?" Strype's Memorials of the Reformation, vol. vii. p. 354.

"Was the month's mind of Sir William Laxton, who died the last month, (July 1556,) his hearse burning with wax, and the morrow mass celebrated, and a sermon preached," &c. Strype's Mem. vol. iii. p. 305. GREY.

A month's mind, in the ritual sense, signifies not desire or

Luc. Ay, madam, you may say what sights you see; I see things too, although you judge I wink, JUL. Come, come, will't please you go? [Exeunt.


The Same. A Room in ANTONIO'S House.



ANT. Tell me, Panthino, what sad talk was that, wherewith my brother held you in the cloister?

inclination, but remembrance; yet I suppose this is the true original of the expression. JOHNSON.

In Hampshire, and other western counties, for "I can't remember it," they say, 66 I can't mind it." BLACKSTONE. Puttenham, in his Art of Poetry, 1589, chap. 24, speaking of Poetical Lamentations, says, they were chiefly used "at the burials of the dead, also at month's minds, and longer times: " and in the churchwarden's accompts of St. Helen's in Abingdon, Berkshire, 1558, these month's minds, and the expences attending them, are frequently mentioned. Instead of month's minds, they are sometimes called month's monuments, and in the Injunctions of K. Edward VI. memories, Injunct. 21. By memories, says Fuller, we understand the Obsequia for the dead, which some say succeeded in the place of the heathen Parentalia.

If this line was designed for a verse, we should read-monthes mind. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream :

"Swifter than the moones sphere."

Both these are the Saxon genitive case. STEEVENS.


The old copy reads " month's, not monthes," which shew what was intended. Why should we suppose that the line was meant for a verse? Our author throughout these plays frequently intermixes prose with his verse; though Mr. Steevens has laboured, by the aid of interpolation and omission, to efface all vestiges of this practice. MALONE.


what SAD talk-] Sad is the same as grave or serious. JOHNSON.

So, in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638 :


Marry, sir knight, I saw them in sad talk, "But to say they were directly whispering," &c. Again, in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578;

"The king feigneth to talk sadly with some of his counsel."


« 上一頁繼續 »