« PreviousContinue »
2. 5. 48. I find where your shoee wrings you, Mr. Compasse. This is an allusion to the proverb: 'I know best where the shoe wringeth me (Hazlitt, Eng. Prov.) ; ‘But I wot best wher wryngith me my sho' (Chaucer, Merchant's Tale 309).
2. 5. 58. He must not alter Nature for forme. He must not alter the grasping, selfish nature he has developed as a lawyer, in order to conform to the mode of behavior and manners which satisfies the ideals of society.
2. 5. 66. Something in hand is better, than no birds. Hazlitt gives : ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the wood' =
Something is better than nothing.' Bohn, Polyglot : ' A bird in the cage is worth a hundred at large.'
2.5.67. For metre, see note on 2.5. 44. He shall | at lást | accómpt, | for the út | most farthing, 2. 5. 74.
I cannot tell. See note on 2. I. 18. 2. 5. 75. For metre, see note on 2. 4. 16. I must | attend | my Gós / sip, her | good Ládi ship. 2. 6. 8.
those should pay Me for my watch, and breaking of my sleepes. Watch now means a keeping awake for the purpose of guarding : its obsolete sense is wakefulness, the state of being awake. The term as used here seems to partake of both these meanings. Cf. The New Inn (W ks. 5. 324):
Lov. I was the laziest creature,
2. 6. 13. For metre, see note on 1. 3. 41. It would | reward | your wák | ing. Thát's | my indus try;
2.6. 19. rib of mans flesh. Alluding to Gen. 2. 21. 2. 6. 23.
in open sale market. This was amended by Whalley to sale in open market : this latter is a common expression; see NED.; Market overt (in Law): open market; the exposal of vendible goods in an open place so that any one who passes by may see them.' Cf. Every Man Out (Wks. I. 136):
Down. Why how now, signior gull! are you turn'd filcher of late ? Come, deliver my cloak.
Step. Your cloak, sir! I bought it even now, in open market.
2. 6. 34. After the usual rate of ten i' the hundred. During the reign of Elizabeth, the legal rate of interest was to per cent. In 1624 the rate was reduced to 8 per cent, which was, then, the legal rate when this play was written ; but fourteen years before, when Sir Moth took charge of the money, the rate was 10 per cent. See Palgrave, Dict. Pol. Econ. 2. 429–36.
2. 6. 37. Let'hem exclaime, and envie: what care I? The speech of Sir Moth recalls a similar speech of the avaricious Sordido in Every Man Out (W ks. 2. 43):
Hind. They will exclaim against you.
Ay, their exclaims
Move me as much, as thy breath moves a mountain. 2. 6. 45. For metre, see note on 1. 3. 41.
To án y reas I onablé | mans un | derstanding. 2. 6. 54. & roveting man, ... aimes at infinite wealth. The idea of avarice as a master-passion on a grand scale was worked out in Marlowe's The Jew of Malta. 2. 6. 58.
this present world being nothing, But the dispersed issue of first one. This sounds like the more recent nebular hypothesis. The Copernican system in Jonson's time was fast supplanting the older Ptolemaic system in the view of intelligent people. Jonson himself was a contemporary of Kepler, Galileo, and Descartes ; and one may infer that he accepted the new views. For a cosmology which represents the planets as the dispersed issue of original matter, see the exposition of the doctrine of Descartes in Arrhenius, The Life of the Universe 1. 103–8.
2. 6. 6o. I not see. See note on 2. I. 13.
2. 6. 66.
the Prince hath need More of one wealthy, then ten fighting men. The force of this statement is evident on consideration of the difficulties which James and Charles encountered in their efforts to secure means to finance their continental wars. Charles' demand for unlimited supplies was one of the causes of the conflict between the Crown and the House of Commons. See Gardiner's History of England, Vol. 5.
2. 6. 47. Being may be pronounced as a monosyllable (Abbott, $ 470). See also note on 1. 3. 41. Of the two extra syllables, the last is slurred (see Abbott, § 494).
Fro' the pen | ny tó | the twelve | pence, being the Hieroglyphick, Or the verse might be scanned thus :
Fro’ the penny | to the twelve | pence, being the Hiero glyphick,
6.77. wealth ... displaceth worth. This was one of the complaints of Burton (Anat. of Mel. I. 372): 'Many mortal men came to see fair Psyche, the glory of her age; they did admire her, commend, desire her for her divine beauty, and gaze upon her, but as on a picture ; none would marry her, quod indotata ; fair Psyche had no money. So they do by learning : .. a proper man, and ' tis a pity he has no preferment,” all good wishes, but inexorable, indurate as he is, he will not prefer him, though it be in his power, because he is indotatus, he hath no money.' So, in the speech of Macilente in Every Man Out (W ks. 2. 42) :
Peace, fool get hence, and tell thy vexed spirit,
Wealth in this age will scarcely look on merit.
I may no longer on these pictures stay,
For a spirited eulogy of wealth, dramatic of course, see The
Thou art virtue, fame,
Mos. And what you will, sir. Riches are in fortune A greater good than wisdom is in nature. 2. 6. 80. It makes a trade to take the wall of vertue. 'To take the wall of, the right or privilege of passing next the wall when encountering another person or persons on the street : a right valued in old-fashioned streets with narrow sidewalks, or no footpath, as giving a safer or more cleanly passage.' -C.D. See Massinger, The Maid of Honour (W ks. 3. 10) :
I remember you,
Your gaudy clothes.
Whether he have | any | compass | ión, 2. 6. 100. His wit hee cannot so dispose, by Legacie. Cf. Scitum Hispanicum: Explorata (Wks. 9. 141): It is a quick saying with the Spaniards, Artes inter hæredes non dividi.'
2. 6. 109. For metre, see note on 1. 2.9. That here are met. | Is’t á ny thing I to you : brother,
2. 6. 122–8. A man ... time. Ward discusses the class of 'state decipherers' in the Cambridge History of English Literature, Vol.5, chap. 14: “As in the days of the early Roman empire, a class of informers rose into being, called, in Elizabethan parlance, "moralizers" or "state decipherers," whose business it was to discover and denounce passages, situations and even single words which seemed to betray a dangerous meaning. The spirit of Jacobean government did not fail to carry further a system congenial to its mode of working. Such, in this age, were a few of the troubles of authors-troubles in which dramatists had more than their share.'
2.6. 132. Cutting of throats, with a whispering, or a penknife. Gifford gives the reference to Juvenal:
. . sævior illo Pompeius tenui jugulos aperire susurro.
-Sat. 4. 109-10. 2. 6. 144. Pragmatick Flies. Parasites who are officiously busy in other people's affairs. For the use of fly to denote a parasite, Nares cites Massinger, Virg. Mart. 2. 2:
Courtiers have flies That buzz all news unto them. Also, the name of the parasite in The Fox, Mosca, is the Italian word for fly. In a note to 2. 6. 73 of his edition of The New Inn, Tennant observes that the application of the characteristics of a fly to inquisitive, prying persons is to be found in Plautus (Merc. 2. 3. 26): 'muscast meus pater, nil potest clam illum haberi, nec sacrum nec tam profanum quicquam est, quin ibi ilico adsit.' See also The Magnetic Lady 5.7.1:
'Tis such a Fly, this Gossip, with her buz,
Shee blowes on every thing, in every place! 2. 6. 158. covey. The term covey was first applied to a brood or hatch of partridges, and then figurative and by transference to a family, party of, or set of persons.-A passage in The Staple of News (W ks. 5. 289) shows the connection between these meanings :
Fit. He is a flame.
Kills where he goes.
Ware, 'ware the hawks! I love to see them fly. 2.7.9. and not acquaint. See note on 2. 1. 13.
2. Ch. 4. or what eminent Lawyer, by the ridiculous Mr. Practise? who hath rather his name invented for laughter, then any ofence, or injury it can stick on the reverend Professors of the Law.