Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

295) were intended to begin both versions, and that they were followed in the earlier version by ll. 296-317 and in the later by ll. 318-365. See note on V. ii. 825-830.

IV. iii. 305. poisons up. Completely poisons. Theobald's emendation, ‘prisons up,' is plausible and has been adopted by many editors.

IV. iii. 306. The nimble spirits in the arteries. The arteries were supposed to contain, not blood simply, but ‘vital spirits.'

IV. jii. 336. When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd. The 'suspicious head of theft may be interpreted either actively, i.e. the acutely watchful ears of a thief; or passively, i.e. the ears of one suspicious of being robbed. I think the former the more likely.

IV. iii. 364. For charity itself fulfils the law. Cf. Romans 13. 8: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.'

IV. iii. 383. Sow'd cockle reap'd no corn. An elliptical and proverbial expression: if we plant weeds, we shall not reap corn; unless we make the proper preparations, we shall not gain the desired results.

V. i. 22. to speak 'dout,' fine, when he should say, 'doubt.' Holofernes belongs to the pedantic group which sought during the Renaissance to bring the spelling and pronunciation of English words as close as possible to the real or fancied Latin original. Thus the earlier doute was written and sounded doubt on the authority of Latin dubitum, and the earlier dette made into debt on the analogy of Latin debitum. The new, unhistorical spellings managed to establish themselves, but not the pronunciations upon which Holofernes and his class insisted.

V. i. 31. Priscian a little scratched. That is, your Latin is passable, but hackneyed. Priscian wrote, during the fifth century A.D., works which were long

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

overuse.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

the standard textbooks on Latin grammar. Previous editors have assumed that 'scratched Priscian' must be equivalent to 'breaking Priscian's head,' i.e. speaking ungrammatical Latin.

Hence Theobald misingeniously invented an error by changing Sir Nathaniel's correct sentence to ‘Laus deo, bone intelligo,' and altered Holofernes' French (misprinted 'Bome boon for boon' in the original editions) into 'Bone?-bone for bene.' But the schoolmaster's meaning is that the sentence is Priscian (correct Latin), but scratched by

He would never admit that a positive error in grammar 'will serve.'

V. i. 45. honorificabilitudinitatibus. Dative (or ablative) plural of a genuine mediæval Latin word used by Dante and other writers. It was famous as the longest of all words. It means something like the state of being capable of honors.'

V. i. 50. horn-book. A rudimentary implement of education. It consisted in a paper containing the letters of the alphabet, Lord's Prayer, etc., fastened to a piece of board and protected by a covering of transparent horn.

V. i. 73. circum circa. This is Theobald's rather over-ingenious emendation of 'vnum cita' in the early editions. Hart proposes 'unciatim,' inch by inch, and the late Cambridge editors nimis cito, all too quickly. Furness thinks unum cita a meaningless bit of schoolboy slang.

V. i. 82. ad dunghill. This, as Holofernes suspects, is a perversion of ad unguem, probably current in the grammar-schools.

V. i. 88, 89. the charge-house on the top of the mountain. Charge-house, defined as boarding-school in the Oxford Dictionary, is not otherwise exemplified. The mention of the top of the mountain has been suspected of containing some topical reference. Critics who wish to identify Holofernes with John Florio take

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

mountain as suggesting Montaigne, whose essays Florio translated. The date of Florio's Montaigne, 1603, seems sufficient to discredit this theory.

V. i. 128. the Nine Worthies. They were variously listed, the most common enumeration being:- Three pagans (Hector, Alexander, and Cæsar); three Jews (Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabæus); and three Christians (King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon). Hercules and Pompey seem to have been first included by Shakespeare.

V. i. 145. Hercules in minority. The myth related that the infant Hercules' first exploit was to strangle two serpents which Juno had sent to destroy him. Hart quotes a line from Golding's Ovid (Metamorphoses ix. 79, 80), which may have stuck in the poet's memory: 'It is my Cradle game To vanquish Snakes.'

V. ii. 13. You'll ne'er be friends with him: a' kill'd your sister. M. Abel Lefranc (Sous le Masque de 'William Shakespeare,' 1919, ii. p. 73-80) identifies this sister of Katharine with Hélène de Tournon, an attendant of Marguerite de Valois, Queen of Navarre, who actually died of love in 1577. But the incident: is so similar to Viola's famous story of her sister in Twelfth Night that it seems more likely to have come from something in the personal experience of the poet than from anything in the source material of Love's Labour's Lost. V. ii. 26. I weigh not you.

A pun, as the next line shows, on two idioms: (1) 'I do not equal you in weight,' and (2) 'I don't care about you.'

V. ii. 40. Much in the letters, nothing in the praise. Furness explains "The resemblance was great in the dark colour of the letters, but not at all in the substance of the praise.'

V. ii. 42. Fair as a text B in a copy-book. A large ornamental capital in the old 'Gothic' hand: a 'blackletter.'

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

V. ii. 43. 'Ware pencils, ho! If we come to painting each other's portraits, take care.

V. ii. 44. red dominical. The red letter used in old almanacs to mark the Sundays of the year. The mediæval name for Sunday was ‘dies dominica.'

V. ii. 51. A huge translation of hypocrisy. Katharine affects to think Dumaine's verses imitated from foreign rimers.

V. ii. 61. in by the week. Permanently caught.

V. ii. 65. hests. The only argument for this word (which editors unanimously admit to be decisive) is the requirement of a rime for ‘jests' in the next line. The First Quarto and First Folio read 'deuice,' for which the Second Folio substituted 'behests.' So in line 74 wantonness is a Second Folio emendation of 'wantons be.'

V. ii. 67. So perttaunt-like would I o’ersway his state. Not very satisfactorily explained. The numerous conjectural emendations-pedant-like, portent-like, pendant-like, planet-like, etc.—are unconvincing. Marshall argues that perttaunt-like may be the term 'pur tanť (for so much) used in the card game of Post and Pair, quoting a line from John Davies' Wittes Pilgrimage (1610?): "Then to Pur Tant hee's in subjection.' (Cf. Works of John Davies of Hereford, ed. Grosart, vol. ii. p. 38.)

V. ii. 121. Like Muscovites or Russians. Russian costumes were not uncommon in English courtly masquerades. Sir Sidney Lee suggests a particular allusion to a visit of Russian nobles to Elizabeth's court in 1583.

V. ii. 243. What! was your vizard made without « tongue? Mr. W. J. Lawrence explains (Times Lit. Suppl., June 7, 1923) that Elizabethan masks were kept in place by a tongue held between the wearer's teeth.

V. ii. 248. 'Veal,' quoth the Dutchman. 'Veal

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

may be the Dutchman's pronunciation of 'well,' or the German viel (much), or a pun on 'veil' in the sense of mask. The editors' efforts to evolve wit and sense out of this dialogue are all far-fetched. Katharine is evidently punning on Longaville's name in the words 'long' (1. 245) and 'veal.'

V. ii. 250. Let's part the word. The recent Cambridge editors explain: 'half the word "calf" is "ca" which are the first two letters of Catharine, and "half” means "wife.”

V. ii. 280. Qualm, perhaps. Pronounced 'calm'; hence the pun. The same jest occurs in 2 Henry IV II. iv. 39-41.

V. ii. 282. statute-caps. An act of Parliament in 1571 required all ordinary citizens to wear woollen caps on Sundays and holidays. Hart quotes a still more apposite regulation for the apparel of London apprentices (in 1582), forbidding them at any time to wear within the city any head covering except a woollen cap. The object was to encourage the wool trade. It is worth noting that Shakespeare's uncle incurred a fine in 1583 for refusing to wear a cloth cap on Sundays and holidays.

V. ii. 339. Till this man show'd thee. Theobald first read 'man' for the ‘madman' of the early editions, which spoils the scansion of the line and certainly does not improve the sense. A plausible explanation of the intrusion of the superfluous ‘mad—' is that the compositor's eye caught the first syllable of 'madam' in the next line.

V. ii. 406. like a blind harper's song. Harping was proverbially the resource of the blind.

V. ii. 420. 'Lord have mercy on us.' The words put up on plague-stricken houses.

V. ii. 424. the Lord's tokens. Spots on the body, marking the plague. Berowne jestingly so calls the lords' tokens, i.e. the gifts of his three associates to

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinua »