« PreviousContinue »
316. let the devil, &c.] In Holland's translation of Pliny, 5th book and 8th chapter, we meet with this idea. “ The Angylæ do no worship to any but to the devils beneath." The book however was not published early enough for Shakspere to have seen it, when he wrote this play.
STEEVENS. 325. -to retort your manifest appeal,] To refer back to Angelo the cause in which you appealed from Angelo to the Duke.
JOHNSON. 341. Nor here provincial: --] Nor here accountable. The meaning seems to be, I am not one of his natural ' subjects, nor of any dependent province. JOHNSON.
346. Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,] Barbers shops were, at all times, the resort of idle people :
“ Tonstrina erat quædam: hic solebamus ferè
“ Plerumque eam opperiri."; Which Donatus calis apta sedis otiosis. Formerly with us, the better sort of people went to the barber's shop to be trimmed ; who then practised the under parts of surgery: so that he had occasion for numerous instruments, which lay there ready for use ; and the idle people, with whom his shop was generally crowded, would be perpetually handling and misusing thein. To remedy which, I suppose there was placed up against the wall a table of forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this kind ; which it is not likely would long preserve its authority.
This explanation may serve till a better is discovered.
But whoever has seen the instruments of a chirurgeon, knows that they may be very easily kept out of improper hands in a very small box, or in his pocket.
JOHNSON. The forfeits in a barber's shop are brought forward by Mr. Kenrick with a parade worthy of the subject.
Steevens. I believe Dr. Warburton's explanation in the main to be right. Only that instead of chirurgical instrum ments, the barber's prohibited implements were prin. cipally his razors ; his whole stock of which, from the number and impatience of his customers on a Saturday night or a market-day morning, being necessarily laid ready for use, were exposed to the idle tingers of the bye-standers in waiting for succession to the chair.
These forfeits were as much in mock as mark, both because the barber had no authority of himself to enforce them, and also as they were of a ludicrous na. ture, I perfectly remember to have seen them in
Devonshire (printed like king Charles's Rules) though
--] So again after. wards :
“ You, sirrah, that know me for a fool, a coward,
« One all of luxury" But Lucio had not, in the former conversation, men. tioned cowardice among the faults of the Duke.- Such failures of memory are incident to writers more diligent than this poet.
JOHNSON, 373 -those giglots too -] A giglot is a wanton wench. So in K. Henry VI. Part I,
-young Talbot was not born “ To be the pillage of a giglot wench.” Steevens. 379. -- show your sheep-biting face, and be hang'dan hour! will’t not off?] This is intended' to be the common language of vulgar indignation. Our phrase on such occasions is simply · show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged. The words an hour have no particular use here, nor are authorised by custom. I suppose it was written thus, show your sheep-biting face, and be hangedman how ? will’t not off? In the midland counties, upon any unexpected obstruction or resist. ance, it is common to exclaim an' how." Show
your sheep-biting face, and be hang’d an hour :] Dr. Johnson's alteration is wrong. In the Alchemist we meet with “a man that has been strangled an hour.”
" What, Piper, ho! be hang'd Q-while," is a line of an old madrigal.
FARMER. A similar expression is found in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, 1614 :
“ Leave the bottle behind you, and be curst
MALONE. Show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged an hour.] Dr. Johnson is much too positive in asserting that the words an hour have no particular use here, nor are authorised by custom," as Dr. Farmer has well proved. The poet evidently refers to the ancient mode of punishing by means of the collistrigium, or original pillory ; made like that part of the pillory at present which receives the neck, only it was placed horizontally, so that the culprit hung suspended in it by his chin, and the back of his head. A distinct account of it may be found, if I mistake not, in Mr. Barrington's Observations on the Statutes.
Henley. 397. my passes : -] i.e. what has past in my administration.
Steevens. 412. Advertising, and holy--] Attentive and faithful.
-be you as free to us.] Be as generous to us, pardon us as we have pardoned you.
JOHNSON. 427. That brain'd my purpose : -] 'We now use in conversation a like phrase. This it was that knocked-my design on the head.
even from his proper tongue,] Even from Angelo's own tongue. So above.
66 In the witness of his proper ear
JOHNSON. 443. Like doth quit like, and measure still for mea. sure.] So in the Third Part of K. Henry VI.
“ Measure for Measure must be answered.”
" The trial now remains as shall conclude,
MALONE. 445. -denies thee vantage:] Takes from thee all opportunity, all expedient of denial. WARBURTON.
468. Against all sense you do importune her :] The meaning required is, against all reason and natural affection ; Shakspere, therefore, judiciously uses a single word that implies both; sense signifying both reason and affection.
JOHNSON. The same expression occurs in the Tempest, act ii.
“ You cram these words into my ears, against “ The stomach of my sense.”
STEEVENS. 484. Till he did look on me ;--- -] The Duke has justly observed, that Isabel is importuned against all sense to solicit for Angelo, yet here against all sense she solicits for him. Her argument is extraordinary,
A due sincerity govern'd his deeds
Let him not die.