« PreviousContinue »
The rugged Pyrrhus,he, whose sable arms,
the hands of the most liberal and industrious collectors of such curiosities. Since, however, I have met with this performance, and am therefore at liberty to pronounce that it did not furnish our author with more than a general hint for his description of the death of Priam, &c.; unless with reference to
the whiff and wind of his fell sword “ The unnerved father falls, we read, ver. *:
“ And with the wind thereof the king fell down;" and can make out a resemblance between
“ So as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood;" and ver. **:
“ So leaning on his sword, he stood stone still.” The greater part of the following lines are surely more ridiculous in themselves, than even Shakspeare's happiest vein of bur. lesque or parody could have made them:
“At last came Pirrhus fell and full of ire,
“ Dido. Ah, how could poor Æneas scape their hands?
“ Æn. My mother Venus, jealous of my health,
Foulding his hand in hers, and joyntly both
Beating their breasts and falling on the ground,
Treading upon his breast, stroke off his hands.
“ An. At which the franticke queene leapt on his face,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
" Which he disdaining, whiskt his sword about,
" Then from the navell to the throat at once,
Jove's marble statue gan to bend the brow,
“ Through which he could not passe for slaughtred men : ** “ So leaning on his sword he stood stone still,
“ Viewing the fire wherewith rich Ilion burnt.” Act II. The exact title of the play from which these lines are copied, is as follows: The-Tragedie of Dido 1 Queen of Carthage 1 Played by the Children of her | Majesties Chapel | Written by Christopher Marlowe, and | Thomas Nash, Gent. I --Actors ! Jupiter. | Ganimed. | Venus | Cupid.l Juno. | Mercurie, or-Hermes,
Æneas. | Ascanius. | Dido. | Anna. | Achates. | Ilioneus. | Iarbas. Cloanthes. | Sergestus. | At London, | Printed, by the Widdowe Orwin, for Thomas Woodcocke, and are to be solde at his shop, in Paules Church-yeard, at the signe of the black Beare. 1594.
Steevens, 5 Now is he total gules ;] Gules is a term in the barbarous jargon peculiar to heraldry, and signifies red. Shakspeare has it again in Timon of Athens :
“ With man's blood paint the ground; gules, gules." Heywood, in his Second Part of the Iron Age, has made a verb from it:
old Hecuba's reverend locks
trick'd - ] i. e. smeared, painted. An heraldick term. See Vol. V, p. 162, n. 8. Malone.
7 With eyes like carbuncles,] So, in Milton's Paradise Lost, B. IX, l. 500:
and carbuncles in his eyes." Steevens. So proceed you.] These words are not in the folio. Malone.
Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good ac. cent, and good discretion.
1 Play. Anon he finds him
as a painted tyrant,] Shakspeare was probably here thinking of the tremendous personages often represented in old tapestry, whose uplifted swords stick in the air, and do nothing.
“ Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth." This line leads me to suspect that Shakspeare wrote-the bold wind speechless. Many similar mistakes have happened in these plays, where the word ends with the same letter with which the next begins. Malone. 2 And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, &c.] This thought appears to have been adopted from the 3d Book of Sidney's Arcadia: “Vulcan, when he wrought at his wive's request Æneas an armour, made not his hammer beget a greater sound than the swords of those noble knights did” &c. Steevens.
Now falls on Priam.
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.-Pr'ythee, say on :-He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps :-say on: come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah woe !4 had seen the mobled
He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry,] See note on your only jig-maker," Act III, sc. ii. Steevens.
A jig, in our poet's time, signified a ludicrous metrical composition, as well as a dance. Here it is used in the former sense. So, in Florio's Italian Dict. 1598: “ Frottola, a countrie jigs, or round, or countrie song, or wanton verses." Malone.
4 But who, ah woe!] Thus the quarto, except that it has-a woe. A is printed instead of ah in various places in the old copies. Woe was formerly used adjectively for woeful. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
“ Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wear
“ All your true followers out." The folio reads-But who, o who, &c. Malone.
the mobled queen - ] Mobled or mahled signifies, veiled. So, Sandys, speaking of the Turkish women, says, their heads and faces are mabled in fine linen, that no more is to be seen of them than their eyes. Travels. Warburton.
Mobled signifies huddled, grossly covered. Johnson.
“ The moon does mobble up herself." Farmer. Mobbled is, I believe, no more than a depravation of muffied. It is thus corrupted in Ogilby's Fables, Second Part:
“ Mobbled nine days in my considering cap,
“ Before my eyes beheld the blessed day. In the West this word is still used in the same sense; and that is the meaning of mobble in Dr. Farmer's quotation. H. White.
The mabled queen, (or mobled queen, as it is spelt in the quarto,) means, the queen attired in a large, coarse, and careless head-dress. A few lines lower we are told she had “a clout upon that head, where late the diadem stood.”
To mab, (which in the North is pronounced mob, and hence the spelling of the old copy in the present instance,) says Ray in his Dict. of North Country words, is “to dress carelessly. Mabs are slatterns."
Ham. The mobled queen? Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the
flames IVith bisson rheum ;8 a clout upon that head, TVhere late the diadem stood ; and, for a robe, About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up; Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd, 'Gainst fortune's state would creason have pronounc'd: But if the gods themselves did see her then, IVhen she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs; The instant burst of clamour that she made, (Unless things mortal move them not at all) Vould have made milch? the burning eye of heaven, And passion in the gods.
Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and has tears in 's eyes.--Pr’ythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon. Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time: After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better: Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping?
The ordinary morning head-dress of ladies continued to be distinguished by the name of a mab, to almost the end of the reign of George the Second. The folio reads--the inobled queen.
Malone. In the counties of Essex and Middlesex, this morning cap has always been calledma mob, and not a mab. My spelling of the word therefore agrees with its most familiar pronunciation.
Steevens. 6 With bisson rheum ;] Bisson or beesen, i. e. blind. A word still in use in some parts of the North of England.
So, in Coriolanus : “ What harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this character?” Steevens.
made milch —] Drayton in the 13th Song of his Polyol. bion gives this epithet to dew: “ Exhaling the milch dew, &c.