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EVERY MAN OUT OF HIS HUMOUR.
SCENE 3.-P. 124.
"Oh, your wits of Italy are nothing comparable to her her brain's a very quiver of jests, and she does dart them abroad with that sweet, loose, and judicial aim, that you would," &c.
Gifford, as the punctuation shews, has overlooked the meaning of " loose," which is here a substantive," with that sweet loose, and judicial aim," &c. Loose is a technical term for the discharging of an arrow: so in Beaumont and Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge, act ii. sc. 1 (where see my note);
"But he shall know ere long that my smart loose
Can thaw ice, and inflame the wither'd heart
In a subsequent passage of this play, "rovers" means 'arrows shot compass-wise, or with a certain degree of elevation' (see Gifford's note, p. 370); and such, when archery is in question, is generally the meaning of the word. But here "rover” is equivalent to 'archer:' compare the following lines of Gosson's Pleasant Quippes for Vpstart Newfangled Gentlewomen, 1595;
'When shooters aime at buttes and prickes,
they set up whites, and shew the pinne :
It may be apornes are like tricks
to teach where rovers game may winne. Brave archers soone will find the marke, But bunglers hit it in the darke."
p. 10, reprint.
SCENE 1.-P. 249.
Amo. Sir, shall I say to you for that hat? Be not so sad, be not so sad."
Probably the burden of some forgotten song.
SCENE 2.-P. 346.
Amo. Here is a hair too much, take it off. Where are thy mullets?"
Mullets are small pincers, answering, perhaps, to our curlingirons. The word is in Coles's English Dictionary; but I can give no example of its use by Jonson's contemporaries." GIFFORD.
It occurs in The Devils Charter, 1607, by B. Barnes;
"I will correct these arches with this mullet:
After the Epilogue;
"Ecce rubet quidam, pallet, stupet, oscitat, odit.
Hoc volo: nunc nobis carmina nostra placent.”
Did Gifford and the other editors suppose that these lines were by Jonson? They are Martial's—Lib. vi. Ep. lxi.
"I know not whether Jonson had any contemporary quack in view here. The name he has taken from an Italian juggler who was in England about this time, and exhibited petty feats of legerdemain. See the Epigrams [vol. viii. 227]. Our poet was a great reader and admirer of the facetious fopperies of a former age; and I am strongly inclined to think that he intended to imitate Andrew Borde, a physician of reputation in Henry VIII.'s time, who used to frequent fairs and markets, and there address himself to the people. Here is an evident imitation of his language," &c. GIFFORD.
It is surely to Scoto, not to Borde, that Jonson alludes in this scene. Jeronimo Scoto called himself a count, and wandered over the world as a conjuror. I have somewhere read, that, while in Germany, he first cheated a man of high rank, then debauched his wife, robbed her, and finally abandoned her to the fury of her husband. That he was in England in Elizabeth's time we learn from Nash's Unfortunate Traveller, or The Life of Jacke Wilton, 1594;
Scoto, that did the iuggling trickes here before the Queene, neuer came neere him [Cornelius Agrippa] one quarter in magicke reputation." Sig. F 3.
SCENE 1.-P. 220.
Heart! ere to-morrow I shall be new-christen'd,
And call'd the Pantalone di Besogniosi,
About the town."
"i. e. the zany or fool of the beggars. Such, at least, is the vulgar import of the words; but Jonson probably affixed a more opprobrious sense to them." GIFFORD.
Corvino means, 'I shall be called cuckold;' as the Pantalone of the Italian comedy is frequently represented to be.
Suspect what they deserve still.”
The thought is from Petronius;
“Dii deæque, quam male est extra legem viventibus! quidquid meruerunt semper expectant." Satyr. cap. cxxv.
SCENE 2.-P. 282.
For these not knowing how to owe a gift
Of that dear grace, but with their shame; being placed
So above all powers of their gratitude,
Began to hate the benefit; and, in place
Of thanks, devise to extirpe the memory
From Tacitus ;
"Nam beneficia eo usque læta sunt, dum videntur exsolvi posse; ubi multum antevenere, pro gratia odium redditur." Annal. iv. 18.
SCENE 2.-P. 283.
"Mischief doth never end where it begins."
Jonson had in view a passage of Valerius Maximus ;
Neque enim ullum finitur vitium ibi ubi oritur." Lib. ix. 1.