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Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris; let the world slide: Sessa!
Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst?5 Sly. No, not a denier: Go by, says Jeronimy;— Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
This Sly is likewise mentioned in Heywood's Actor's Vindication, and the Induction to Marston's Malecontent. He was also among those to whom James I, granted a license to act at the Globe theatre in 1603. Steevens.
paucas pallabris;] Sly, as an ignorant fellow, is purposely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas palabras, i. e. few words: as they do likewise, Cessa, i. e. be quiet. Theobald.
This is a burlesque on Hieronymo, which Theobald speaks of in a following note: "What new device have they devised now? Pocas pallabras." In the comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611, a cut-purse makes use of the same words. Again, they appear in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638, and in some others, but are always appropriated to the lowest characters. Steevens.
let the world slide:] This expression is proverbial. It is used in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit without Money:
will you go drink
"And let the world slide, uncle?"
•you have burst?] To burst and to break were anciently synonymous. Falstaff says, that "John of Gaunt burst Shallow's head for crouding in among the marshal's men."
Again, in Soliman and Perseda:
"God save you, sir, you have burst your shin." Steevens. Burst is still used for broke in the North of England. See Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, edit. 1780, Vol. XII, p. 375.
Go by, says Feronimy;-Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.] The old copy reads-go by S Jeronimie-. Steevens. All the editions have coined a Saint here, for Sly to swear by. But the poet had no such intentions. The passage has particu. lar humour in it, and must have been very pleasing at that time of day. But I must clear up a piece of stage history to make it understood. There is a fustian old play called Hieronymo, or The Spanish Tragedy: which I find was the common butt of raillery to all the poets in Shakspeare's time: and a passage, that appeared very ridiculous in that play, is here humorously alluded to. Hieronymo, thinking himself injured, applies to the king for justice; but the courtiers, who did not desire his wrongs should be set in a true light, attempt to hinder him from an audience:
"Hiero. Justice! O! justice to Hieronymo.
"Lor. Back; seest thou not the king is busy?
Host. I know my remedy, I must go fetch the thirdborough.7
"Hiero. O, is he so?
King. Who is he, that interrupts our business? "Hiero. Not I:-Hieronymo, beware; go by, go by." So Sly here, not caring to be dunn'd by the Hostess, cries to her in effect; "Don't be troublesome, don't interrupt me, go by;" and to fix the satire in his allusion, pleasantly calls her Jeronimo. Theobald. The first part of this tragedy is called Feronimo. The Tinker therefore does not say Jeronimo as a mistake for Hieronymo.
I believe the true reading is-Go by, says Jeronimo, and that thes was the beginning of the word says, which, by mistake, the printers did not complete. The quotation from the old play proves that it is Jeronimo himself that says, Go by. M. Mason. I have not scrupled to place Mr. M. Mason's judicious correction in the text. Steevens.
Surely Sly, who in a preceding speech is made to say Richard for William, paucas pallabris for pocas palabras, &c. may be allowed here to misquote a passage from the same play in which that scrap of Spanish is found, viz. The Spanish Tragedy. He afterwards introduces a saint in form.-The similitude, however slight, between Feronimy and S. Jerome, who in Sly's dialect would be Jeremy, may be supposed the occasion of the blunder. He does not, I conceive, mean to address the Hostess by the name of Jeronimy, as Mr. Theobald supposed, but merely to quote a line from a popular play. Nym, Pistol, and many other of Shakspeare's low characters, quote scraps of plays with equal infidelity.
There are two passages in The Spanish Tragedy here alluded to. One quoted by Mr. Theobald, and this other:
"What outcry calls me from my naked bed?"
Sly's making Jeronimy a saint is surely not more extravagant than his exhorting his Hostess to go to her cold bed to warm herself; or declaring that he will go to his cold bed for the same purpose; for perhaps, like Hieronymo, he here addresses himself.
In King Lear, Edgar, when he assumes the madman, utters the same words that are here put in the mouth of the tinker: "Humph; go to thy cold bed, and warm thee." Malone.
I must go fetch the thirdborough.] The old copy reads: I must go fetch the headborough.
Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, &c. Steevens. This corrupt reading had passed down through all the copies, and none of the editors pretended to guess at the poet's conceit. What an insipid unmeaning reply does Sly make to his Hostess? How do third, or fourth, or fifth borough relate to Headborough? The author intended but a poor witticism, and even that is lost. The Hostess would say, that she'd fetch a constable: and this VOL. VI.
Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law: I'll not budge an inch, boy; let him come and kindly. [Lies down on the ground and falls asleep.8
Wind Horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with Huntsmen and Servants.
Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds:
Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd,'
officer she calls by his other name, a Third-borough: and upon this term Sly founds the conundrum in his answer to her. Who does not perceive at a single glance, some conceit started by this certain correction? There is an attempt at wit, tolerable enough for a tinker, and one drunk too. Third-borough is a Saxon term sufficiently explained by the glossaries: and in our statute-books no further back than the 28th year of Henry VIII, we find it used to signify a constable. Theobald.
In the Personæ Dramatis to Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub, the high-constable, the petty-constable, the head-borough, and the thirdborough, are enumerated as distinct characters. It is difficult to say precisely what the office of a third-borough was. Steevens.
The office of third-borough is known to all acquainted with the civil constitution of this country, to be co-extensive with that of the constable. Sir J. Hawkins.
8-falls asleep.] The spurious play, already mentioned, begins thus:
“Enter a Tapster, beating out of his doores Slie drunken. "Taps. You whoreson drunken slave, you had best be gone, "And empty your drunken panch somewhere else, "For in this house thou shalt not rest to night.
"Slie. Tilly vally; by crisee Tapster Ile fese you anone: "Fills the t'other pot, and all 's paid for: looke you, "I doe drink it of mine own instigation. "Heere Ile lie awhile: why Tapster, I say, "Fill's a fresh cushen heere:
"Heigh ho, here 's good warme lying.
[He falls asleepe.
"Enter a noble man and his men from hunting.' Steevens. 9 Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd,] Here, says Pope, brach signifies a degenerate hound: but Edwards explains it a hound in general.
That the latter of these criticks is right, will appear from the use of the word brach, in Sir T. More's Comfort against Tribulation, Book III, ch. xxiv :-" Here it must be known of some men that can skill of hunting, whether that we mistake not our terms, for then are we utterly ashamed as ye wott well. And I am so cunning, that I cannot tell, whether among them a bitche be a bitche or no; but as I remember she is no bitch but a brache." The meaning of the latter part of the paragraph seems to be, “Í
And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd brach.
am so little skilled in hunting, that I can hardly tell whether a bitch be a bitch or not; my judgment goes no further, than just to direct me to call either dog or bitch by their general name— Hound." I am aware that Spelman acquaints his reader, that brache was used in his days for a lurcher, and that Shakspeare himself has made it a dog of a particular species:
"Mastiff, greyhound, mungrill grim,
"Pound or spaniel, brach or lym." K. Lear, Act III, sc. v. But it is manifest from the passage of More, just cited, that it was sometimes applied in a general sense, and may therefore be so understood in the passage before us; and it may be added, that brache appears to be used in the same sense by Beaumont and Fletcher:
"A. Is that your brother?
"E. Yes, have you lost your memory?
"A. As I live, he is a pretty fellow.
"r. O, this is a sweet brach."
Scornful Lady, Act I, sc. i. T. Warton. I believe brach Merriman means only Merriman the brach. So, in the old song:
"Cow Crumbock is a very good cow."
Brach, however, appears to have been a particular sort of hound. In an old metrical charter, granted by Edward the confessor to the hundred of Cholmer and Dancing, in Essex, there are the two following lines:
"Four greyhounds & six Bratches,
"For hare, fox, and wild cattes."
Merriman surely could not be designed for the name of a female of the canine species. Steevens.
It seems from the commentary of Ulitius upon Gratius, from Caius de Canibus Britannicis, from bracco, in Spelman's Glossary, and from Markham's Country Contentments, that brache originally meant a bitch. Ulitius, p. 163, observes, that bitches have a superior sagacity of nose:-"fœminis [canibus] sagacitatis plurimum inesse, usus docuit;" and hence, perhaps, any hound with eminent quickness of scent, whether dog or bitch, was called brache, for the term brache is sometimes applied to males. Our ancestors hunted much with the large southern hounds, and had in every pack a couple of dogs peculiarly good and cunning to find game, or recover the scent, as Markham informs us. To this custom Shakspeare seems here to allude, by naming two braches, which, in my opinion, are beagles; and this discriminates brach, from the lym, a blood-hound mentioned together with it, in the tragedy of King Lear. In the following quotation offered by Mr. Steevens on another occasion, the brache hunts truly by the scent, behind the doe, while the hounds are on every side:
"For as the dogs pursue the silly doe,
Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good1
The word is certainly used by Chapman in his Gentleman Usher, a comedy, 1606, as synonymous to bitch: "Venus your brach there, runs so proud," &c. So, also, our author in King Henry IV, P. I: "I'd rather hear Lady, my brach, howl in Irish." The structure of the passage before us, and the manner in which the next line is connected with this, [And couple &c.] added to the circumstance of the word brach occurring in the end of that line, incline me to think that Brack is here a corruption, and that the line before us began with a verb, not a noun. Malone.
Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-Leech Merriman; that is, apply some remedies to Merriman, the poor cur has his joints swelled.— Perhaps we might read-bathe Merriman, which is, I believe, the common practice of huntsmen; but the present reading may stand. Johnson.
Emboss'd is a hunting term. When a deer is hard run, and foams at the mouth, he is said to be emboss'd. A dog also when he is strained with hard running (especially upon hard ground) will have his knees swelled, and then he is said to be emboss'd: from the French word bosse, which signifies a tumour. planation of the word will receive illustration from the following passage in the old comedy, entitled The Shoemakers Holiday, or the Gentle Craft, acted at court, and printed in the year 1600, signat. C:
Beate every brake, the game's not farre,
Mr. T. Warton's first explanation may be just. Lyly, in his Midas, 1592, has not only given us the term, but the explanation of it:
"Pet. There was a boy leashed on the single, because when he was imbossed he took soyle.
"Li. What's that?
"Pet. Why a boy was beaten on the tayle with a leathern thong, because, when he fom'de at the mouth with running, he went into the water."
Again, in Chapman's version of the fourth Iliad:
like hinds that have no hearts,
"Who, wearied with a long-run field, are instantly embost, "Stand still," &c.- Steevens.
From the Spanish, des embocar, to cast out of the mouth. We have again the same expression in Antony and Cleopatra:
the boar of Thessaly
"Was never so emboss'd." Malone.
Can any thing be more evident than that imboss'd means swelled in the knees, and that we ought to read bathe? What has the imbossing of a deer to do with that of a hound? "Imbossed sores" occur in As you Like it; and in The First Part of King Henry IV, the Prince calls Falstaff "imboss'd rascal." Ritson.