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burton quotes the following lines from Butler, in reference to Ral.
“Could tell what subtlest parrots mean,
“ This day, great Dule, she shut the doors upon me,
Act V., Scene 1. Pinch and his companions are here alluded to. The term “har. lot" originally meant merely a hireling, and was afterwards applied contemptuously to both sexes. In Ben Jonson's“ VOLPOXE, " Corbaccio says to the impostor, “ Out, harlot.”
“ I will not stay to-night for all the town;
Act IV., Scene 4. This use of the word "stuff” now seems strange, but in the orders that were formerly issued for the royal progresses, even the monarch’s baggage was always thus denominated.
“ And careful hours, with Time's deformed hand,
Act V., Scene 1.
“ And these two Dromios, one in semblance,
Act V., Scene 1.
A line is plausibly supposed to be lost after tho second of those (Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair);
quoted, which would have given connection to the passage.
“ The Duke, my husband, and my children both,
the calendars of their nativity.”
Scene 1. In this passage we bave probably the nucleus of some striking lines in Gray's "ODE ON ETON COLLEGE:
These “calendars” are the two Dromios. In Act I. Antipholus of
Syracuse calls one of them “the almanack of my true date."
“We came into the world like brother and brother ;
And now let's go hand in hand, not one before another."
Act V., Scene 1.
These lines very pleasantly wind up the “COMEDY OF ERRORS,"
and leave a favorable impression of the good sense and good temper More hideous than their queen.”
of the two slave brothers. In reference to the loose kind of meter in
which they are occasionally made to speak, a few similar specimons “ With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,
from old dramas may be found amusing. Malone introduces them
with the subjoined observations:To make of him a formal man again."
“ The long doggerel verses that Shakspeare has attributed in this Act V., Scene 1.
play to the two Dromios, are written in that kind of meter which That is, to bring him back to bis senses, and the forms of sober be was usually attributed by the dramatic poets before his time, in their havior. In “MEASURE FOR MEASURE,” the phrase “ informal women " comic pieces, to some of their inferior characters; and this circumis used in the contrary sense.
stance is one of many that authorize us to place the preceding com
edy, as well as Love's LABOR's Lost,' and Tax TAMING OF THE “ The place of death and sorry execution." - Act V., Scene 1.
SHREW' (where the same kind of versification is likewise found),
among our author's earliest productions; composed probably at a The word “sorry” had anciently a stronger meaning than it has at
time when he was imperceptiby infected with the prevailing mode, present. Chaucer says, in the prologue to the “SOMPNOURE'S
and before he had completely learned to deviate boldly from the TALE:
common track.' As these early pieces are now not easily met with, I “ This Frere, when he looked bad his fill
shall subjoin a few extracts from some of them:Upon the torments of this sorry place.”
LIKE WILL TO LIKE' (1568). And in the “KNIGOT'S TALE,” describing the temple of Mars:“All full of chirking was that sorry place."
Royst. If your name to me you will declare and showe,
You may in this matter my minde the sooner knowe.
Tos. Few wordes are best among friends, this is true,
Wherefore I shall briefly show my name unto you.
Tom Tospot it is, it need not to be printed, “ Important” is here used in the sense of importunate. The allu
Wherefore I with Raife Roister must needs be acquainted, &c. sion is probably to the Court of Wards, which was always considered a grievous oppression.
Commons CONDITIONS' (about 1570). "My master preaches patience to him, while
Shift. By gogs bloud, my maisters, we were not best longer here His man with scissors nicks him like a fool."
to staie, Act V., Scene 1.
I think was never such a crafty knave before this daie. (Exit AMBO.
Cond. Are thei all gone? Ha, ha, well fare old shift at a neede: Fools appear to have had their hair cut close and nicked in a par. By his woundes had I not devised this, I had hanged indeed. ticular manner. In the “ CHOICE OF CHANGE” (1598), we find:
Tinkers (qd you), tink me po tinkes; I'll meddle with them no more. “Three things used by monks, which provoke men to laugh at their I thinke was never knave so used by a companie of tinkers before. follies: 1. They are shaved and notched on the head, like fools."
By your leave I'll be so bold as to looke about me and spic, Mr. Tollet states that there is a penalty of ten shillings in one of Lest any kpave for my coming down in ambush do lie. King Alfred's ecclesiastical laws, if one opprobriously shavo a com- By your license I minde not to preach longer in this tree, mon man like a fool.
My tinkerly slaves are packed hence, as farre as I maie soe.
PROMUS AND CASSANDRA' (1578).
ile. But farce dares add the two Dromios, and is justified in so doing
by the laws of its end and constitution. In a word, farce commences The wind is yl blows no man's gaine; for colde I neede not care,
in a postulate which must be granted. - COLERIDGE.
The general idea of this play is taken from the “MENÆCHMI” of
Plautus, but the plot is entirely recast, and rendered much more di“THE THREE LADIES OF LONDON' (1584).
verting by the variety and quick succession of the incidents. To tho You think I am going to market to buy rost meate, do yo not?
twin brothers of Plautus are added twin servants; and though this I thought so, but you are deceived, for I wot what I wot:
increases the improbability, yet, as Schlegel observes, “ when once we I am neither going to the butcher's, to buy veale, mutton, or beefe, bave lent ourselves to the first, which certainly borders on the inBut I am going to a bloodsucker, and who is it? faith Usurie, that credible, we should not probably be disposed to cavil about the sectheefe.
ond; and if the spectator is to be entertained with mere perplexities,
they cannot be too much varied.” "THE COBLER'S PROPHEST' (1594).
The clumsy and inartificial mode of informing the spectator, by a
prologue, of events which it was necessary for him to be acquainted Quoth Nicenness to Newfangle, thou art such a Jacke,
with in order to enter into tho spirit of the piece, is well avoided, and That thou devisest fortie fashions for my ladie's backe.
shews the superior skill of the moderu dramatist over his ancient And thou, quoth he, art so poseest with everie frantick toy,
prototype. With how much more propriety is it placed in the mouth That following of my ladie's humor thou dost make her coy,
of Ægeon, the father of the twin brothers, whose character is sketchFor once a day for fashion-sake, my lady must be sicke,
ed with such skill as deeply to interest the reader in his griefs and No meat but mutton, or at most the pinion of a chicke:
misfortunes? Development of character, however, was not to be ex. Today her owne haire best becomes, which yellow is as gold, pected in a piece which consists of an uninterrupted series of mis A periwig is better for to-morrow, blacke to behold:
takes and laughter-moving situations. * * * We may conclude Today in pumps and cheveril gloves to walk she will be bold,
with Schlegel's dictum that “This is the best of all written or possiTo-morrow cuffes and countenance, for fear of catching cold;
ble Menachmi; and if the piece is inferior in worth to other pieces of Nor is she barefast to be seene, straight on her mufller goes ;
Shakspeare, it is merely because nothing more could be made of the Now is she hufft up to the crowne, straight nusled to the nose. materials." - SINGER.
"Seo also "GAMMER GURTON'S NEEDLE,' 'DAMON AND PYTHIAS,' &c."
A translation of the “MENÆCUMI" of Plautus appeared in 1595, by On a careful revision of the foregoing scenes, I do not hesitate to
“W. W.,” which letters are supposed to have been the initials of pronounce them the composition of two very unequal writers.
William Warner. Thero is not the slightest internal evidence in Sbakspeare had undoubtedly a share in them; but that the entire play Shakspeare's play to shew that he made any use of his version. Inwas no work of his, is an opinion which (as Benedick says) “ fire can- deed, it is highly probable that the “COMEDY OF ERRORS ” was writ not melt out of me; I will dio in it at the stake.” -STEEVENS.
ten at an earlier period.
The following is a specimen of Warner's translation. It is the commencement of the second Act; the dialogue being between Menæchmus Sosicles (Antipholus of Syracuse) and Messenio:
“ Men. Surely, Messenio, I think seafarers never take so comfortaOn the present occasion, Mr. Steevens appears to have merely fol. ble a joy in any thing as, when they have been long tost and turmoillowed the example of Maximin:
cd in the wide seas, they hap at last to ken land. “ And all this I can do, because I dare.”
Mes. I'll be sworn, I should not be gladder to see a whole country It were to be wished that the writer had assigned some reasons for
of mine own, than I have been at such a sight. But I pray, wherehis opinions. Not having done so, I can only oppose to this peremp
fore are we now come to Epidamnum? Must we needs go to see every
town that we hear of ? tory decision an opinion po less confidently entertained, that the whole of the present comedy was written by Shakspeare. – MALONE.
Men. Till I find my brother, all towns are alike to me. I must try in all places.
Mes. Why, then, let's even as long as we live seek your brother: six years now have wo roamed about thus; Istria, Hispania, Mag
sylia, Illyria, all the upper sea, all high Greece, all haven towns in The myriad-minded man, our and all men's Shakspeare, bas in Italy. I think if we had sought a needle all this time we must needs this piece presented us with a legitimate farce, in exact consonance
have found it, had it been above ground. It cannot be that he is with the philosophical principles and character of farce, as distin- | alive; and to seek a dead man thus among the living, what folly is it? guished from comedy and from entertainments. A proper farce is
Men. Yea, could I but once find any man that could certainly inmainly distinguished from comedy by the license allowed, and even
form me of his death, I were satisfied; otherwise I can never desist required, in the fable, in order to produce strange and laughable sit seeking: Jittle knowest thou, Messenio, how near my heart it goes. uations. The story need not be probable; it is enough that it is pos
Mes. This is washing of a blackamoor. Faith, let's go home, unsible. A comedy would scarcely allow even the two Antipholuses ; less ya mean we should write a story of our travail. because, although there have been instances of almost indistinguish.
Men. Sirrah, no more of these saucy speeches. I perceive I must able likeness in two persons, yet these are mere individual accidents, teach you how to serve me, not to rule me. casus ludentis naturæ; and the verum will excuse the inverisim- Mes. Ay, so, now it appears what it is to be a servant."