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my house ; let our old acquaintance be renewed : peradventure, I will with you to the court.
FAL. I would you would, master Shallow.
SHAL. Go to; I have spoke at a word. Fare you weil. [Exeunt SHALLOW and Silence.
Fal. Fare you well, gentle gentlemen. On, Bardolph; lead the men away. (Exeunt BarDOLPH, Recruits, &c.] As I return, I will fetch off these justices: I do see the bottom of justice Shallow. Lord, lord, how subject we old men are to this vice of lying! This same starved justice hath done nothing but prate to me of the wildness of his youth, and the feats he hath done about Turnbull-streets; and every third word a lie, duer paid to the hearer than the Turk's tribute. I do remember him at Clement's-inn, like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring: when he was naked, he was, for all the world, like a forked radish, with a head
6 — about TURNBULL-STREET ;] In an old comedy called Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, this street is mentioned again :
“ You swaggering, cheating, Turnbull-street rogue.” Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady: “Here has been such a hurry, such a din, such dismal drinking, swearing, &c. we have all lived in a perpetual Turnbull-street."
Nash, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication, commends the sisters of Turnbull-street to the patronage of the Devil. Again, in The Inner Temple Masque, by Middleton, 1619: “ 'Tis in your charge to pull down bawdy-houses,
- cause spoil in Shoreditch, “And deface Turnbull.” Again, in Middleton's comedy, called Any Thing for a Quiet Life, a French bawd says : “ J'ay une fille qui parle un peu François ; elle conversera avec vous, a la Fleur de Lys, en Turnbull-street."
Turnbull or Turnmill-street, is near Cow-cross, West Smithfield.
The continuator of Stowe's Annals informs us that West Smithfield. (at present the horse-market,) was formerly called Ruffian's Hall, where turbulent fellows met to try their skill at sword and buckler. STEEVENS.
fantastically carved upon it with a knife: he was so forlorn, that his dimensions to any thick sight were invincible ? : he was the very Genius of famine; yet lecherous as a monkey, and the whores called him-mandrake ?: he came ever in the rear-ward
I were inviNCIBLE:] That is, could not be mastered by any thick sight. Mr. Rowe and the other modern editors read, invisible. Malone
Invincible cannot possibly be the true reading; invincible to, not being English; for whoever wrote or said not be conquered to ?
Invincible by is the usual phrase ; though Shakspeare, in Much Ado About Nothing, makes Don Pedro say, “I would have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection;" a sufficient proof that he would not have written “invincible to a thick sight.” Sreevens. . We have already had in these plays guilty to self wrong, interest to the state, and a multitude of other instances of phraseology which seem strange to us now. See the Essay on Shakspeare's Phraseology. Malone.
Let us apply Mr. Steevens's process of translation to invisible, i. e. cannot be seen to, and it will be equally objectionable. The fact is, these verbal adjectives will admit of either conjunction. An object is perceived by, but it is perceptible either by or to the sight. We are wounded by something ; but Coriolanus, vol. xiv. p. 209, wishes that his son may prove to shame invulnerable.
BOSWELL. I callid him--MANDRAKE :) This appellation will be somewhat illustrated by the following passage in Caltha Poetarum, or the Bumble Bee, composed by T. Cutwode, Esquyre, 1599. This book was commanded by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London to be burnt at Stationers' Hall in the 41st year of Queen Elizabeth :
“Upon the place and ground where Caltha grew,
"A mightie mandrag there did Venus plant; “An object for faire Primula to view,
“Resembling man from thighs unto the shank,” &c. The rest of the description might prove yet further explanatory; but on some subjects silence is less reprehensible than information.
In the age of Shakspeare, however, (as I learn from Thomas · Lupton's Third Booke of Notable Thinges, 4to. bl. 1.) it was customary “ to make counterfeat mandrag, which is sold by deceyuers for much money." Out of the great double root of briony (hy means of a process not worth transcribing) they produced the kind of priapic idol to which Shallow has been compared. Steevens.
Bullein, in his Bullwark of Defence against all Sicknesse, &c.
of the fashion; and sung those tunes to the overscutched? huswives that he heard the carmen whistle, and sware-they were his fancies, or his good-nights. And now is this Vice's dagger 4 befol. 1597, p. 41, speaking of mandrake, says : “— this hearbe is called also anthropomorphos, because it beareth the image of a man; and that is false. For no herbe hath the shape of a man or woman ; no truly, it is not naturall of his owne growing: but by the crafty invention of some false men it is done by arte."-"My friend Marcellus, the description of this mandrake, as I have sayd, was nothing but the imposterous subtility of wicked people. Perhaps of fryers or supersticious monkes whych have wrytten thereof at length; but as for Dioscorides, Galen, and Plinie, &c. they have not wrytten thereof so largely as for to have head, armes, fyngers," &c. Reed.
See a former scene of this play, p. 24, n. 9; and Sir Thomas Brown's Vulgar Errors, p. 72, edit. 1686. Malone.
2 — over-SCUTCHED - That is, whipt, carted. Pope.
I rather think that the word means dirty or grimed. The word huswives agrees better with this sense. Shallow crept into mean houses, and boasted his accomplishments to dirty women.
JOHNSON. Ray, among his north country words, says that an over-switched huswife is a strumpet. Over-scutched has undoubtedly the meaning which Mr. Pope has affixed to it. Over-scutched is the same as over-scotched. A scutch or scotch is a cut or lash with a rod or whip. STEEVENS.
The following passage in Maroccus Extaticus, or Bankes' Bay Horse in a Traunce, 4to. 1595, inclines me to believe that this word is used in a wanton sense : “The leacherous landlord hath his wench at his commandment, and is content to take ware for his money ; his private scutcherie hurts not the common-wealth farther than that his whoore shall have a house rent-free.” Malone.
3 -- FANCIES, or his GOOD-NIGHTS.] Fancies and Goodnights were the titles of little poems. One of Gascoigne's Goodnights is published among his Flowers. STEEVENS.
4 And now is this Vice's dagger ] By l'ice here the poet means that droll character in the old plays (which I have several times mentioned in the course of these notes) equipped with asses ears and a wooden dagger. It was very satirical in Falstaff to compare Shallow's activity and impertinence to such a machine as a wooden dagger in the hands and management of a buffoon.
THEOBALD. See vol. xi. p. 479, n. 9. STEEVENS.
Vice was the name given to a droll figure, heretofore much shown upon our stage, and brought in to play the fool and make sport for the populace. His dress was always a long jerkin, a
come a squire; and talks as familiarly of John of Gaunt, as if he had been sworn brother to him :
5, or his ger' be - hearbe i page of
fool's cap with ass's ears, and a thin wooden dagger, such as is still retained in the modern figures of Harlequin and Scaramouch. Minsheu, and others of our more modern criticks, strain hard to find out the etymology of the word, and fetch it from the Greek : probably we need look no further for it than the old French word Vis, which signified the same as Visage does now. From this in part came Visdase, a word common among them for a fool, which Menage says is but a corruption from Vis d'asne, the face or head of an ass. It may be imagined therefore that Visdase, or Vis d'asne, was the name first given to this foolish theatrical figure, and that by vulgar use it was shortened to plain Vis or Vice.
Hanmer. The word Vice is an abbreviation of Device ; for in our old dramatick shows, where he was first exhibited, he was nothing more than an artificial figure, a puppet moved by machinery, and then originally called a Device or Vice. In these representations he was a constant and the most popular character, afterwards adopted into the early comedy. The smith's machine called a vice, is an abbreviation of the same sort.-Hamlet calls his uncle “a vice of kings," a fantastick and factitious image of majesty, a mere puppet of royalty. See Jonson's Alchymist, Act I. Sc. lil. :
“And on your stall a puppet with a vice.” T. WARTON. To each of the proposed etymologies of Vice in the note there seem to be solid objections.
Hanmer's derivation from the French visdase, is unsupported by any thing like authority. This word occurs in no ancient French writer as a theatrical character, and has only been used by modern ones in the sense of ass or fool, and then probably by corruption ; there being good reason to suppose that it was originally a very obscene expression. It is seldom, if ever, that an English term is made up from a French one, unless the thing itself so expressed be likewise borrowed; and it is certain that in the old French moralities and comedies there is no character similar to the Vice,
Mr. Warton says it is an abbreviation of device, because in the old dramatical shows this character was nothing more than a puppet moved by machinery, and then originally called a device. But where is the proof of these assertions, and why should one puppet in particular be termed a device? As to what he states concerning the name of the smith's machine, the answer is, that it is immediately derived from the French vis, a screw, and neither probably from device ; for the machine in question is not more a device than many other mechanical contrivances. Mr. Warton has likewise informed us that the vice had appeared as a puppet before
and I'll be sworn he never saw him but once in the Tilt-yard : and then he burst his head', for croud
he was introduced into the early comedies; but it would be no easy task to maintain such an opinion. Nor is it by any means clear that Hamlet, in calling his uncle a vice, means to compare him to a puppet or factitious image of majesty ; but rather simply to a buffoon, or, as he afterwards expresses it, a king of shreds and patches. The puppet shows had, probably, kings as well as vices in their dramas; and Hamlet might as well have called his uncle at once, a puppet king.
What Mr. Steevens has said on this subject in a note to Twelfth Night, vol. xi. p. 479, deserves a little more consideration. He states, but without having favoured us with proof, that the vice was always acted in a mask; herein probably recollecting that of the modern Harlequin, the illegitimate successor to the old vice. But the mask of the former could have nothing to do with that of the latter, if he really wore any. Admitting however that he might, it is improbable that he should take his name from such a circumstance; and even then, it would be unnecessary to resort, with Mr. Steevens, to the French word vis, which, by the bye, never signified a mask, when our own visard, i. e. a covering for the visage, would have suited much better.
A successful investigation of the origin and peculiarities of this singular theatrical personage would be a subject of extreme curiosity. The etymology of the word itself is all that we have here to attend to; and when the vicious qualities annexed to the names of the above character in our old dramas, together with the mischievous nature of his general conduct and deportment, be considered, there will scarcely remain a doubt that the word in question must be taken in its literal and common acceptation. It may be worth while just to state some of these curious appellations, such as shift, ambidexter, sin, fraud, vanity, covetousness, iniquity, prodigality, infidelity, inclination; and many others that are either entirely lost, or still lurk amidst the impenetrable stores of our ancient dramatick compositions. Douce.
5- he burst his head,] Thus the folio and quarto. The modern editors read broke. To break and to burst were, in our poet's time, synonymously used. Thus Ben Jonson, in his Poetaster, translates the following passage in Horace :
fracta pereuntes cuspide Gallos. “ The lances burst in Gallia's slaughter'd forces.” So, in The Old Legend of Sir Bevis of Hampton : “ But syr Bevis so hard him thrust, that his shoulder-bone he
burst." Again, in The Second Part of Tamburlaine, 1590 :