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271. Well mous'd, lion.] So, in an ancient bl. let. ballad on this story, entitled, The Constancy of true Love, &c. "And having musled thus the same
"Thither he went whence first he came."
Theseus means that he has well tumbled and bloody'd
the veil of Thisbe.
-glittering streams.] The old copies STEEVENS.
The emendation by the Editor of the second folio.
288. Cut thread and thrum;] Thrum is the end or extremity of a weaver's warp; it is popularly used for very coarse yarn. The maids now call a mop of yarn a thrum mop. WARNER,
So, in Hannibal and Scipio, 1637:
66 —no rough pelt of thrums,
Again, in Chapman's translation of the 16th Iliad :
So in Howell's Letter to Sir Paul Neale, knt. "Translations are like the wrong side of a Turkey
*This idea has been adopted by Howell from Don Quixote: "-me parece, que el traducir de una lengua en C otra, es como quien mira los tapices flamencos por el
reves, que aunque se ven les figuras, fon llenas de hilos que las escurecen, y no fe ven con la lifura y tez de la haz.” Hilos however, which Howell has rendered thrums, more properly signifies floss, thread's ends, or fastenings.
carpet, which useth to be full of thrums and knots, and nothing so even as the right side."
289. -and quell!] To quell is to murther, to destroy. So, in the 12th pageant of the Lusus Coventria, commonly called the Corpus Christi Play. MS. Cott. Vesp. D. viii.
"That he the lawe may here do,
"With stonys her to quell."
314. and prove an ass.] The character of Theseus throughout this play is more exalted in its humanity than its greatness. Though some sensible observations on life, and animated descriptions fall from him, as it is said of Jago, you shall taste him more as a soldier than as a wit, which is a distinction he is here striving to deserve, though with little success; as in support of his pretensions he never rises higher than a pun, and frequently sinks as low as a quibble.
warn'd us; she for a woman, God bless us."
340. Lay them in gore,] Mr. Theobald and Dr. Warburton instead of lay, read lave, but have no note to justify their alteration. STEEVENS.
352. A Bergomask dance,] Sir Thomas Hanmer observes in his Glossary, that this is a dance after the manner of the peasants of Bergomasco, a country in Italy, belonging to the Venetians. All the buffoons
in Italy affect to imitate the ridiculous jargon of that people; and from thence it became also a custom to imitate their manner of dancing. STEEVENS.
353. our company?] At the conclusion of Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggar's Bush, there seems to be a sneer at this character of Bottom; but I do not very clearly perceive its drift. The beggars have resolved to embark for England, and exercise their profession there. One of them adds :
"The spirit of Bottom is grown bottomless :" This may mean, that either the publick grew indifferent to bad actors, to plays in general, or to characters, the humour of which consisted in blunders.
-gait] i. e. passage, progress. STEEVENS, 372. In the old copies: And the wolf beholds the As it is the design of these lines to characterize the animals, as they present themselves at the hour of midnight and as the wolf is not justly characterized by saying he beholds the moon, which other beasts of prey, then awake, do: and as the sounds these animals make at that season, seem also intended to be re presented, I make no question but the poet wrote: And the wolf behowls the moon.
For so the wolf is exactly characterized, it being his peculiar property to howl at the moon. (Behowl, as bemoan, beseem, and an hundred others.)
So, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, where the whole passage seems to be copied from this of our author:
"Now barks the wolfe against the full-cheek'd
"Now lyons half-clam'd entrals roar for food,
"Flutt'ring 'bout casements of departing souls;
"Imprison'd spirits to revisit earth.”
THEOBALD. The alteration is better than the original reading; but perhaps the author meant only to say, that the wolf gazes at the moon. JOHNSON.
I think, now the wolf behowls the moon, was the original text. The allusion is frequently met with in the works of our author and his contemporaries. "'Tis like the howling of Irish wolves against the moon," says he, in his As You Like It; and Massinger, in his New Way to pay Old Debts, makes an usurer feel only
"As the moon is moved
"When wolves with hunger pin'd, howl at her FARMER.
The word behold was in the time of Shakspere frequently written behould (as I suppose it was then pro. nounced)—which probably occasioned the mistake.
It is observable, that in the passage in Lodge's
Rosalynde, 1592, which Shakspere seems to have had in his thoughts, when he wrote in As You Like It"'Tis like the howling of Irish wolves against the moon"-the expression is found, that Marston has used instead of behowls. "In courting Phebe, thou barkest with the wolves of Syria against the moon." See also Spenser's Faery Queen, B. I. c. v. s. 30. MALONE. 374. fordone.] i. e. overcome. So, Spenser's Faery Queen, B. I. c. x. s. 33.
"And many souls in dolours had foredone." Again, in Jarvis Markham's English Arcadia, 1607: "—fore-wearied with striving, and fore-done with the tyrannous rage of her enemy.”
Again, in the ancient metrical Romance of Sir Bevis of Hampton, bl. let. no date :
"But by the other day at none,
"These two dragons were fore-done."
389. I am sent, with broom, before,
To sweep the dust behind the door.] Cleanliness is always necessary to invite the residence and the fayour of fairies :
"These make our girls their sluttry rue,
"And put a penny in their shoe
"The house for cleanly sweeping.
To sweep the dust behind the door is a common expression, and a common practice in large old houses;