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“ Therefore, sweet master, for Saint Charity.”
STEEVENS. In the scene between the bastard Faulconbridge, and the friars and nunne in the first part of The troublesome Raigne of King John, (edit. 1779, p. 256, &c.) the nunne swears by Gis, and the friers pray to Saint Withold, (another obsolete saint mentioned in King Lear, act iii.) and adjure him by Saint Charitie to hear them.
BLACKSTONE. By Gis There is not the least mention of any saint whose name corresponds with this, either in the Roman Calendar, the service in Usum Sacrum, or in the Benedictionary of Bishop Athelwold. I believe the word to be only a corrupted abbreviation of Jesus, the let. ters J. H. S. being anciently all that was set down to denote that sacred name, on altars, the covers of books, &c.
RIDLEY 280. By cock, --] This is likewise a corruption of the sacred name. Many instances of it are given in a note at the beginning of the fifth act of the Second Part of King Henry IV.
STEEVENS. 282. He answers.] These words I have added from the quartos.
STEVENS. 290. Come, my coach! good night, ladies ; good night, ] In Marlow's Tamburlaine, 1591, Zabina in her frenzy uses the same expression :
“ Hell make ready my coach, my chair, my jewels, I come, I come."
301. --but greenly,] But unskilfully; with greenness; that is, without maturity of judgment.
JOHNSON. 302. In hugger-mugger to inter him :-) All the modern editions that I have consulted, give it,
In private to inter him;That the words now replaced are better, I do not undertake to prove; it is sufficient that they are Shakspere's: if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by disuse, or gross by vulgarity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and, as these alterations will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning. JOHNSON
This expression is used in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1609 :
he died like a politician " In hugger-mugger.” Shakspere probably took the expression from the following passage in Sir T. North's translation of Plutarch : :-" Antonius thinking that his body should be honourably buried, and not in hugger-mugger."
It appears from Greene's Groundwork of Coneycatching, 1592, that to hugger was to lurk about.
STEEVENS. 307. Feeds on his wonder,-] The folio reads,
Keeps on his wonder,
Thus the true reading is picked out from between them.
JOHNSON. 310. Wherein necessity, &c.] Wherein, that is, in which pestilent speeches necessity, or the obligation of an accuser to support his charge, will nothing stick, &c.
JOHNSON. 313. Like to a murdering piece,–] Such a piece as assassins use, with many barrels. It is necessary to apprehend this, to see the justness of the similitude.
WARBURTON. This explanation of Dr. Warburton is right; and a passage in The Double Marriage of Beaumont and Fletcher will justify it:
“ And, like a murdering piece, aims not at one,
STEVENS. Both this passage, and the context of Shakspere, shew, that the murdering piece had not many barrels, but one, very capacious; or, in other words, was, what is now styled a blunderbuss.
HENLEY. 315. Alack! &c.] This speech of the queen is omitted in the quartos.
STEEVENS. 316. . ---my Switzers? -] Mr. Reed remarks, that in many of our old plays, the guards attendant on kings are called Switzers ; without any regard to the country where the scene lies, and cites in particular, Beaumont and Fletcher's Noble Gentleman, act iii.
- was it not 21. Ts. Some place of gain, as clerk to the great band
“Of marrow-bones, that people call the Switzers?
“ Men made of beef and sarcenet ?" 319. The ocean, over-peering of his list,] The lists are the barriers which the spectators of a tournament must not pass.
JOHNSON 330. O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs.] Hounds run counter when they trace the trail backwards.
JOHNSON, 341. -unsmirched brow] i. e. clean, not defiled. To besmirch, our author uses, act i. sc. 5.
Steevens. 374. -life-rend'ring pelican,] So, in the ancient Interlude of Nature, bl. let. no date: “ Who taught the cok hys watche-howres to ob
serve, “ And syng of corage wyth shryll throte on hye? “ Who taught the pellycan her tender hart to
carve? 6. For she nolde suffer her byrdys to dye?” It is almost needless to add that this account of the bird is entirely fabulous.
SreeVENS. 380. -to your judgment 'pear,] So the quarto; the folio, and all the later editions, read,
-to your judgment pierce, less intelligibly.
They "pear so handsomely, I will forward."
“ And where they 'pear so excellent in little,
“ They will but flame in great." STEEVENS. 394. They bore him bare-fac'd on the bier, &c.] So, an Chaucer's Knight's Tale, late edit. ver. 2879 :
• He laid him bare the visage on the bere,
STBEVENS. 400. -sing, Down-a-down. - ] Perhaps Shakspere alludes to Phæbe's Sonnet, by Thomas Lodge, which the reader may find in England's Helicon, 1614:
16 Downe a-downe,
“ By fancy once distressed, &c.
“ And so sing I, with downe a-downe," &c. Down a-down is likewise the burthen of a song in the Three Ladies of London, 1584, and perhaps common to
STEEVENS. 401. O, how the wheel becomes it!
-] The story alluded to I do not know; but perhaps the lady stolen by the steward was reduced to spin. JOHNSON.
You must sing Down a-down, &c.
O how the wheel becomes it!--] The wheel may mean no more than the burther of the song, which she had just repeated, and as such was formerly used. I met with the following observation in an old quarto black letter book, published before the time of Shakspere:
". The song was accounted a good one, thogh it was not moche graced by the wheele, which in no wise accorded with the subject matter thereof."