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houses, and bid those that are drunk ? get them to bed.
2 Watch. How if they will not ?
Dogs. Why then, let them alone till they are sober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you took them for.
2 Watch. Well, sir.
Dogs. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man: and, for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty
2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him ?
Dogb. Truly, by your office, you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
VERG. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it'.
bid those that are drunk —] Thus the quarto 1600. The folio 1623 reads—“ bid them that,” &c. Steevens.
3 If you hear a child cry, &c.] It is not impossible but that part of this scene was intended as a burlesque on The Statutes of the Streets, imprinted by Wolfe, in 1595. Among these I find the following:
22. No man shall blowe any horne in the night, within this citie, or whistle after the houre of nyne of the clock in the night, under paine of imprisonment.
23. *“ No man shall use to go with visoures, or disguised by night, under like paine of imprisonment.
24. “Made that night-walkers, and evisdroppers, have like punishment.
2 WATCH. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us ?
Dogs. Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying: for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when it bleats.
VERG. 'Tis very true.
Dogs. This is the end of the charge. You, constable, are to present the prince's own person ; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.
VERG. Nay by’r lady, that, I think, he cannot.
Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the statues, he may stay him: marry,
25. “ No hammer-man, as a smith, a pewterer, a founder, and all artificers making great sound, shall not worke after the houre of nyne at night, &c.
30. “ No man shall, after the houre of nyne at night, keepe any rule, whereby any such suddaine outcry be made in the still of the night, as making any affray, or beating his wyfe, or servant, or singing, or revyling in his house, to the disturbaunce of his neighbours, under
of iris. iiid.” &c. &c. Ben Jonson, however, appears to have ridiculed this scene in the Induction to his Bartholomew-Fair:
“ And then a substantial watch to have stole in upon 'em, and taken them away with mistaking words, as the fashion is in the stage practice." STEEVENS.
Mr. Steevens observes, and I believe justly, that Ben Jonson intended to ridicule this scene in his Induction to BartholomewFair ; yet in his Tale of a Tub, he makes his wise men of Finsbury speak just in the same style, and blunder in the same manner, without any such intention. M. Mason.
Mistaking words were a source of merriment before Shakspeare's time. Nashe, in his Anatomie of Absurditie, 1589, speaks of a “misterming clowne in a comedie;" and in Selimus, Emperor of the Turks, 1594, we have this speech put into the mouth of Bullithrumble, a shepherd : “A good nutrimented lad : well, if you will keepe my sheepe truly and honestly, keeping your hands from lying and slandering, and your tongues from picking and stealing, you shall be maister Bullithrumble's servitures."
Boswell. the statues,] Thus the folio 1623. The quarto 1600
not without the prince be willing : for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
VERG. By'r lady, I think, it be so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night : an there be any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own', and good night. Come, neighbour.
2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge : let us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, and then all to-bed.
Dogb. One word more, honest neighbours : I pray you, watch about signior Leonato's door ; for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night : Adieu, be vigitant, I be
[Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES.
Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE.
[Aside. Bora. Conrade, I say ! Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow.
Bora. Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought, there would a scab follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that ; and now forward with thy tale.
Bora. Stand thee close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkardo, utter all to thee.
reads—“the statutes.” But whether the blunder was designed by the poet, or created by the printer, must be left to the consideration of our readers. Steevens.
5 - keep your fellows' counsels and your own,] This is part of the oath of a grand juryman; and is one of many proofs of Shakspeare's having been very conversant, at some period of his life, with legal proceedings and courts of justice. MALONE.
- like a true DRUNKARD,] I suppose, it was on this account
Watch. [Aside.] Some treason, masters; yet stand close.
Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
Con. Is it possible that any villainy should be so dear?
Bora. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possible any villainy should be so rich?; for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
Bora. That shows, thou art unconfirmed® : Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
Con. Yes, it is apparel.
Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But seest thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is ?
Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman : I remember his name. Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody ? Con. No; 'twas the vane on the house.
Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is ? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty ? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's
that Shakspeare called him Borachio, from Boraccho, Spanish, a drunkard; or Borracha, a leathern receptacle for wine.
Steevens. 7 -- any villainy should be so rich;] The sense absolutely requires us to read, villain. WARBURTON.
The old reading may stand. STEEVENS.
8 – thou art unCONFIRMED:] i. e. unpractised in the ways of the world. WARBURTON.
soldiers in the reechy painting'; sometime, like god Bel's priests in the old church window; sometime, like the shaven Hercules " in the smirched
Reechy painting ;] Is painting discoloured by smoke. So, in Hans Beer Pot's Invisible Comedy, 1618:
he look'd so reechily, “Like bacon hanging on the chimney's roof.” From recan, Anglo-Saxon, to reek, fumare. Steevens.
1 — like god Bel's priests-] Alluding to some awkward representation of the story of Bel and the Dragon, as related in the Apocrypha. Steevens.
2 - sometime, like the shaven HERCULES, &c.) By the shaven Hercules is meant Sampson, the usual subject of old tapestry. In this ridicule on the fashion, the poet has not unartfully given a stroke at the barbarous workmanship of the common tapestry hangings, then so much in use. The same kind of raillery Cervantes has employed on the like occasion, when he brings his knight and 'squire to an inn, where they found the story of Dido and Æneas represented in bad tapestry. On Sancho's seeing the tears fall from the eyes of the forsaken queen as big as walnuts, he hopes that when their atchievements became the general subject for these sorts of works, that fortune will send them a better artist.-What authorised the poet to give this name to Sampson was the folly of certain Christian mythologists, who pretend that the Grecian Hercules was the Jewish Sampson. The retenue of our author is to be commended : The sober audience of that time would have been offended with the mention of a venerable name on so light an occasion. Shakspeare is indeed sometimes licentious in these matters : But to do him justice, he generally seems to have a sense of religion, and to be under its influence. What Pedro says of Benedick, in this comedy, may be well enough applied to him : “ The man doth fear God, however it seems not to be in him by some large jests he will make." WARBURTON.
I believe that Shakspeare knew nothing of these Christian mythologists, and by the shaven Hercules meant only Hercules when shaved to make him look like a woman, while he remained in the service of Omphale, his Lydian mistress. Had the shaved Hercules been meant to represent Sampson, he would probably have been equipped with a jaw bone instead of a club.
STEEVENS. 3 — smirched - ) Smirched is soiled, obscured. So, in As You Like It, Act I. Sc. III. :
“ And with a kind of umber smirch my face." Steevens.