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* these are but furnishings;] Furnishings are what we now call colours, external pretences. Johnson. * You owe me no subscription;] Subscription, for obedience, - WAR BU RTON. * So beggars marry many.] i. e. A beggar marries a wife and lice. J O H. N. SON. * Gallow—l Gallow, a west-country word, signifies to scare or frighten. W A R BU RTON. * He that has a little tiny wit,-] I fancy that the second line of this stanza had once a termination that rhymed with the fourth: but I can only fancy it; for both the copies agree. . It was once perhaps written, With heigh ho, the wind and the rain in his way. The meaning seems likewise to require this insertion. “He that has wit, however small, and finds wind and rain in his way, must content himself by thinking, that somewhere or other it raineth every day, and others are therefore suffering like himself.” Yet, I am afraid that all this is chimerical, for the burthen appears again in the song at the end of Twelfth Night, and seems to have been an arbitrary supplement, without any reference to the sense of the song. JOHNSON. ** No hereticks burn'd, but wenches' suitors:] The disease to which wenches' suitors are particularly exposed, was called in Shakspeare's time the brenning or burning. 56
taking!] To take is to blast, or strike with malignant influence:
strike her young limbs, Ye taking airs, with lameness. *’ wore gloves in my cap,) i. e. His mistress's favours: which was the fashion of that time. So in the play called Campaspe, “Thy men turned to women, thy soldiers to lovers, gloves worn in velvet caps, instead of plumes in graven helmets.” W.A. it b U RTON. * Says suum, mun, ha no nonny, &c.] Of this passage I can make nothing. I believe it corrupt: for wildness, not nonsense, is the effect of a disordered imagination. The quarto reads, hay no on ny, dolphins, my boy, cease, let him trot by. Of interpreting this there is not much hope or much need. But any thing may be tried. The madman, now counterfeiting a proud fit, supposes himself met on the road by some one that disputes the way, and cries Hey!—No—but altering his mind, condescends to let him pass, and calls to his boy Dolphin (Rodolph) not to contend with him. On— Dolphin, my boy, cease. Let him trot by. Jo HNso N. The reading of the quarto is right. Hey no nonny is the burthen of a song in The Two Noble Kinsmen (said to be written by Shakspeare in conjunction with Fletcher), and was probably common to many others. Dolphin, my boy, my boy, Cease, let him trot by; It seemeth not that such a foe From me or you would fly. This is a stanza from a very old ballad written on some battle fought in France, during which the king, unwilling to put the suspected valour of his son the Dauphin, i. e. Dolphin (so called and spelt at those times), to the trial, is represented as wishing torestrain him from any attempt to establish an opinion of his courage on an adversary who wears the least appearance of strength; and at last assists in propping up a dead body against a tree for him to try his manhood upon. Therefore, as different champions are supposed crossing the field, the king always discovers some objection to his attacking each of them, and repeats these two lines as every fresh one is introduced: Dolphin, my boy, my boy, &c.
The song I have never seen, but had this account from an old gentleman, who was only able to repeat part of it, and died before I could have supposed the discovery would have been of the least use to me.— As for the words, says suum, mun, they are only to be found in the first folio, and were probably added by the players, who, together with the press-setters, were likely enough to corrupt what they did not understand,
or to add more of their own to what they already con
cluded to be nonsense. 59
ST E E V E N S.
Flibbertigibbet:l We are not much ac
quainted with this fiend. Latimer in his sermons
mentions him; and Heywood, among his sixte hund
red of Epigrams, edit. 1576, has the following, Of
calling one Flebergibet: o “Thou Flebergibet, Plebergibet, thou wretch! “Wottest thou whereto last part of that word doth
“Leave that word, or I'll bast thee with a libet; “Of all woords I hate woords that end with gibet.” - STE EVENS. * —the web and the pin, J Diseases of the eye. " the wall-newt, and the water;] i. e. the waternewf. * Modo he's call'd, and Mahu.] These names are all taken from Harsenet's Declaration, &c. as are Hopdance, Fratterretto, Purre, Haberdicut or Obidicut, Smolkin, &c. These last were the devils that possessed Sarah Williams. Harsenet, page 181. STE EW E N S. * Child Rowland—] In the old times of chivalry, the noble youth who were candidates for knighthood, during the season of their probation, were called Infans, Varlets, Damoysels, Bacheliers. The most noble of the youth particularly, Infans. Here a story is told, in some old ballad, of the famous hero and giant-killer Roland, before he was knighted, who is, therefore, called Infans; which the ballad-maker translated, Child Roland. W.A. R. B.U. R.T.O.N. 64 a horse's health, Without doubt we should read heels, i. e. to stand behind him. wa RBURTo N. Shakspeare is here speaking not of things maliciously treacherous, but of things uncertain and not durable. A horse is above all other animals subject to diseases. JOHNSON. * Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam?] I am not confident that I understand the meaning of this desultory speech. When Edgar says, Look where he
stands and glares! he seems to be speaking in the character of a mad-man, who thinks he sees the fiend. Wantest thou eyes at trial, madam? is a question which appears to be addressed to the visionary Gonerill, and may signify, Do you want to attract admiration, even while you stand at the bar of justice? STEEW ENS. At trial, madam?] It may be observed that Edgar, being supposed to be found by chance, and therefore to have no knowledge of the rest, connects not his ideas with those of Lear, but pursues his own train of delirious or fantastic thought. To these words, At trial, madam? I think, therefore, that the name of Lear should be put. The process of the dialogue will support this conjecture. JOHNSON. 66 Hopdance cries in Tom's belly for two white herring.] Sarah Williams confessed (see Harsenet's book, p. 195) that when she was troubled with a croaking in her stomach from emptiness, the priests persuaded her it was the fiend within her. STEEv. "7 brach, or lym;] A limmer or leamer, a dog of the chace, was so called from the leam or leash in which he was held till he was let slip. CA I Us de Canibus Britannicis. * Poor Tom, thy horn is dry.] Men that begged under pretence of lunacy used formerly to carry a horn, and blow it through the streets. J O H. NS ON. 69 my lord of Gloster.] Meaning Edmund, newly invested with his father's titles. The steward, speaking immediately after, mentions the old duke by the same title.