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not four such swinge-bucklers 4 in all the inns of court again : and, I may say to you, we knew where the bona-robas" were; and had the best of them all at commandment. Then was Jack Falstaff, now sir John, a boy; and page to Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk.
Sil. This sir John, cousin, that comes hither anon about soldiers ?
Shal. The same sir John, the very same. I saw
discontinued after his death. However, Cotswold might have been long famous for meetings of tumultuous swinge-bucklers. See vol. viii. p. 16, n. 6. MALONE.
4 — swinge-bucklers -] Swinge-bucklers and swash-bucklers were words implying rakes or rioters in the time of Shakspeare.'
Nash, addressing himself to his old opponent Gabriel Harvey, 1598, says : “ Turpe senex miles, 'tis time for such an olde foole to leave playing the swash-buckler."
Again, in The Devil's Charter, 1607, Caraffa says, “when I was a scholar in Padua, faith, then I could have swinged a sword and buckler," &c. STEEVENS.
“West Smithfield (says the Continuator of Stowe's Annals, 1631,) was for many years called Ruffians' Hall, by reason it was the usual place of frayes and common fighting, during the time that sword and buckler were in use; when every serving-man, from the base to the best, carried a buckler at his backe, which hung by the hilt or pummel of his sword which hung before him. -Untill the 20th year of Queen Elizabeth, it was usual to have frayes, fights, and quarrels upon the sundayes and holydayes, sometimes, twenty, thirty, and forty swords and bucklers, halfe against halfe, as well by quarrels of appointment as by chance.And in the winter season all the high streets were much annoyed and troubled with hourly frayes, and sword and buckler men, who took pleasure in that bragging fight; and although they made great shew of much furie, and fought often, yet seldome any man was hurt, for thrusting was not then in use, neither would any one of twenty strike beneath the waste, by reason they held it cowardly and beastly." Malone.
s bona-robas -] i.e. ladies of pleasure.. Bona Roba, Ital. So, in The Bride, by Nabbes, 1640 : “ Some bona-roba they have been sporting with.”
STEEVENS. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598; “ Buona roba, as we say good stuff ; a good wholesome plump-cheeked wench."
him break Skogan's head? at the court gate, when he was a crack $, not thus high : and the very same
7- Skogan's head-] Who Skogan was, may be understood from the following passage in The Fortunate Isles, a masque, by Ben Jonson, 1626:
“ Methinks you should enquire now after Skelton,
“ Daintily well," &c.
In the written copy, (says the editor of Chaucer's Works, 1598,) the title hereof is thus : " Here followethe a morall ballade to the Prince, now Prince Henry, the Duke of Clarence, the Duke of Bedford, the Duke of Gloucester, the kinges sons, by Henry Scogan, at a supper among the merchants in the vintrey at London, in the house of Lewis John.” The purport of the ballad is to dissuade them from spending their youth “ folily."
John Skogan, who is said to have taken the degree of master of arts at Oxford, “ being (says Mr. Warton) an excellent mimick, and of great pleasantry in conversation, became the favourite buffoon of the court of King Edward IV." Bale and Tanner have confounded him with Henry Scogan, if indeed they were distinct persons, which I doubt. The compositions which Bale has attributed to the writer whom he supposes to have lived in the time of Edward IV. were written by the poet of the reign of Henry IV, which induces me to think that there was no poet or master of arts of this name, in the time of Edward. There might then have been a jester of the same name. Scogin's Jests were published by Andrew Borde, a physician in the reign of Henry VIII. They were entered in the Stationers' books in 1565, by Thomas Colwell : and were probably published in that year. Shakspeare had probably met with this book; and as he was very little scrupulous about anachronisms, this person, and not Henry Scogan, the poet of the time of Henry IV. may have been in his thoughts: I say may, for it is by no means certain, though the author of Remarks on the last edition of Shakspeare, &c. has asserted it with that confidence which distinguishes his observations,
Since this note was written, I have observed that Mr. Tyrwhitt agrees with me in thinking that there was no poet of the name of Scogan in the time of King Edward IV. nor any ancient poet of that name but Henry Scogan, Master of Arts, who lived in the time of King Henry IV, and he urges the same argument that I
day did I fight with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer, behind Gray's-inn. O, the mad days that I
have done, namely, that the compositions which Bale ascribes to the supposed John Scogan, were written by Henry. Bale and Tanner were, I believe, Mr. Warton's only authority.
“ As to the two circumstances (says Mr. Tyrwhitt,) of his being a master of arts of Oxford, and jester to the king, I can find no older authority for it than Dr. Borde's book. That he was contemporary with Chaucer, but so as to survive him several years, perhaps till the reign of Henry V. is sufficiently clear from this poem (the poem mentioned in the former part of my note].
“ Shakspeare seems to have followed the jest. book, in considering Scogan as a mere buffoon, when he mentions as one of Falstaff's boyish exploits that he broke Scogan's head at the courtgate." Tyrwhitt's Chaucer, vol. v. Pref.
“Among a number of people of all sorts who had letters of protection to attend Richard II. upon his expedition into Ireland in 1399, is Henricus Scogan, Armiger." Ibidem, p, xy.
MALONE. This was John Scogan, jester to King Edward IV. and not Henry, the poet, who lived long before, but is frequently confounded with him. Our author, no doubt, was well read in John's Jests, “gathered by Andrew Boarde, doctor of physick," and printed in 4to. and black letter, but without date; and his existence, which has been lately called in question, (for what may not be called in question ?) is completely ascertained by the following characteristic epitaph, accidentally retrieved from a contemporary manuscript in the Harleian library (No. 1587):
Hic iacet in tumulo corpus Scogan ecce Johannis ;
Quo nescimus ibunt, vinosi cito peribunt.
have spent! and to see how many of mine old acquaintance are dead !
Sil. We shall all follow, cousin.
Shal. Certain, 'tis certain ; very sure, very sure: death, as the Psalmist saith, is certain to all; all shall die. How a good yoke of bullocks at Stamford fair ? . Sił. Truly, cousin, I was not there.
Shal. Death is certain.- Is old Double of your town living yet.
Henry the Seventh, is pretty;" clearly meaning some pastoral under that title, and of that age, which he must have read, and, consequently, not Skelton's poem so called, nor any thing of Spenser's. Langham, in his enumeration of Captain Cox's library, notices “the Seargeaunt that became a Fryar, Skogan, Collyn Cloout, the Fryar and the Boy, Elynor Rumming, and the Nutbrooun Maid; ” and that, by Skogan, the writer does not mean his Jests, is evident, from the circumstance of all the rest being poetical tracts. He is elsewhere named in company with Skelton; and, in support of this idea, one may refer to the facetious epigram he wrote on taking his degree, at Oxford, of Master of Arts. Mr. Tyrwhitt's opinion will, on all occasions, be intitled to attention and respect; but no opinion can have any weight whatever against a positive and incontrovertible fact. Ritson.
Mr. Ritson has maintained the same opinion in his Bibliographia Poetica, with ludicrous vehemence. The only argument he has produced to show that John Scogan was a poet, namely, the quotation from Drayton, will by no means prove his point. Drayton, or his printer, may have mistaken Scogan for Skelton, for it is not so clear that he meant that Colin Clout was a pastoral, if we read what follows : “ The Colin Clout of Scogan under Henry the Seventh is pretty, but Barclay's Ship of Fools hath twenty wiser in it." The Ship of Fools was certainly not a pastoral. It is admitted that the date given by Drayton, “under Henry the Seventh," is wrong; and Mr. Ritson, in his Bibliographia, corrects it to Edward the Fourth. It may as well have been Henry IV, which might more easily be mistaken for Henry VII. The facetious epigram alluded to, which Mr. Ritson has given in his Bibliographia, will go a very little way towards proving him a poet. Boswell.
8 CRACK,] This is an old Islandic word, signifying a boy or child. One of the fabulous kings and heroes of Denmark, called Hrolf, was surnamed Krake. See the story in Edda, Fable 63.
Sil. Dead, sir.
Shal. Dead !-See, see !-he drew a good bow ;-And dead !-he shot a fine shoot :-John of Gaunt loved him well, and betted much money on bis head. Dead !-he would have clapped i' the clout at twelve score"; and carried you a forehand shaft a fourteen and fourteen and a half”, that it would have done a man's heart good to see.-How a score of ewes now?
9 – clapped i' the clout -] i. e. hit the white mark.
WARBURTON. So, in King Lear: “O, well flown, bird !- the clout, i the clout." STEEVENS. ·!- at twelve score ;] i. e. of yards. So, in Drayton's Polyolbion, 1612: “At markes full fortie score they us'd to prick and rove."
MALONE. This mode of expression, certainly in this instance, and I believe in general, means yards; but the line from Drayton makes this opinion doubtful, or shows the extreme inaccuracy of the poet, for no man was ever capable of shooting an arrow forty score yards. Douce.
2 — fourteen, and fourteen and a half,] That is, fourteen score of yards. Johnson.
Twelve score appears, however, from a passage in Churchyard's
“ They hit the white that never shot before,
STEEVENS. The utmost distance that the archers of ancient times reached, is supposed to have been about three hundred yards. Old Double therefore certainly drew a good bow. MALONE.
Shakspeare probably knew what he was about when he spoke of archery, which in his time was practised by every one. He is describing Double as a very excellent archer, and there is no inconsistency in making such a one shoot fourteen score and a half; but it must be allowed that none but a most extraordinary archer would be able to hit a mark at twelve score. Some allowance, however, should be made when the speaker is considered. DOUCB. · The long field (I believe at Finsbury) is 16 score 10 yards. A Mr. Bates once shot an arrow near 30 yards bevond the bound of it, which was 18 score. Mr. John Rowston, of Manchester, has often shot 18 score. Miss BANKS.