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And, with his mad attendant and himself, 2
Duke. Long since, thy husband serv’d me in my wars;
Enter a Servant. Serv. O mistress, mistress, shift and save yourself! My master and his man are both broke loose, Beaten the maids a-row, 3 and bound the doctor, Whose beard they have singed off with brands of fire; 4
2 And, with his mad attendant and himself,] We should read:
- mad himself. Warburton. We might read:
And here his mad attendant and himself. Yet, as Mr. Ritson observes, the meeting to which Adriana alludes, not having happened before the abbey, we may more properly suppose our author wrote
* And then his mad attendant and himself. Steevens. I suspect, Shakspeare is himself answerable for this inaccuracy. Malone.
3 Beaten the maids a-row,] i.e. successively, one after another. So, in Chaucer's Wife of Bathes Tale, v. 6,836, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition:
“ A thousand time a-row he gan hire kisse.” Again, in Turberville's translation of Ovid's Epistle from Penelope to Ulysses :
and drawes with wine
"I shall tell thee arowe all that I sawe.”
And ever as it blazed, they threw on him
Adr. Peace, fool, thy master and his man are here; And that is false, thou dost report to us.
Serv. Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true; I have not breath'd almost, since I did see it.
4 Whose beard they have singed off with brands of fire;) Such a ludicrous circumstance is not unworthy of the farce in which we find it introduced; but it is rather out of place in an epick poem, amidst all the horrors and carnage of a battle:
“Obvius ambustum torrem Corinæus ab ara
Steevens. Shakspeare was a great reader of Plutarch, where he might have seen this method of shaving in the life of Dion, p. 167, 4to. See North’s translation, in which äv@gazes may be translated brands. S. W.
North gives it thus—" with a hot burning cole to burne his goodly bush of heare rounde about.” Steevens.
5 My master preaches patience to him, while – ] The old copy redundantly reads—and the while. I have followed Sir Thomas Hanmer, by omitting the unnecessary syllables. Steevens.
6 His man with scissars nicks him like a fool:] The force of this allusion I am unable to explain with certainty. Perhaps it was once the custom to cut the hair of idiots close to their heads. There is a proverbial simile-“ Like crop the conjurer;" which might have been ironically applied to these unfortunate beings.
Steevens. There is a penalty of ten shillings in one of King Alfred's ecclesiastical laws, if one opprobriously shave a common man like a fool. Tollet.
Fools, undoubtedly, were shaved and nicked in a particular manner, in our author's time, as is ascertained by the following passage in The Choice of Change, containing the Triplicitie of Divinitie, Philosophie, and Poetrie, by S. R. Gent. 4to. 1598: « Three things used by monks, which provoke other men to laugh at their follies. 1. They are shaven and notched on the head, like fooles."
See also Florio's Italian Dict. 1598, in v.“ Zuccone. A shaven pate, a notted poule; a poule-pate; a gull, a ninnie.” Malone.
The hair of idiots is still cut close to their heads, to prevent the consequences of uncleanliness. Ritson.
He cries for you, and vows, if he can take you,
Enter AntiPHOLUS and DROMIO of Ephesus.
Æge. Unless the fear of death doth make me dote,
Duke. Discover how, and thou shalt find me just.
? To scorch your face,] We should read-scotch; i. e. hack, cut. Warburton.
To scorch, I believe, is right. He would have punished her as he had punished the conjurer before. Steevens.
with harlots -] Antipholus did not suspect his wife of having entertained courtezans, but of having been confederate with cheats to impose on him and abuse him. Therefore, he says to her-Act IV, sc. iv.
are these your customers ?
“Revel and feast it at my house to-day?” By this description he points out Pinch and his followers. Harlot was a term of reproach applied to cheats among men as well as to wantons among women. Thus, in The Fox, Corbacchio says to Volpone
Qut harlot .!”
Duke. A grievous fault: Say, woman, didst thou so?
Adr. No, my good lord ;--myself, he, and my sister, To-day did dine together: So befal my soul, As this is false, he burdens me withal!
Luc. Ne’er may I look on day, nor sleep on night, But she tells to your highness simple truth!
Ang. O perjur'd woman! they are both forsworn.
Ant. E. My liege, I am advisedo what I say;
Again, in The Winter's Tale:
for the harlot king “ Is quite beyond mine arm.” Again, in the ancient mystery of Candlemas-Day, 1512, Herod says to Watkin—“Nay, harlott, abyde stylle with my knyghts I warne the.”
The learned editor of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, 5 vols. 8vo. 1775, observes, that in The Romaunt of the Rose, v. 6068, King of Harlots is Chaucer's translation of Roy des ribaulx. Chaucer uses the word more than once:
“A sturdy harlot went hem ay behind,
“ That was hir hosts man,” &c. Sompnoures Tale, v. 7336. Again, in The Dyers Play, among the Chester Collection, in the Museum, Antichrist says to the male characters on the stage,
“Out on ye harlots, whence come ye?" Steevens.
I am advised - ] i. e. I am not going to speak precipi tately or rashly, but on reflection and consideration. Steevens:
Then fairly I bespoke the officer,
in person with me to my house. By the way we met My wife, her sister, and a rabble more Of vile confederates; along with them They brought one Pinch; a hungry lean-faced villain, A meer anatomy, a mountebank, A thread-bare juggler, and a fortune-teller; A needy, hollow-ey'd, sharp-looking wretch, A living dead man:1 this pernicious slave, Forsooth, took on him as a conjurer; And, gazing in mine eyes, feeling my pulse, And with no face, as 'twere, outfacing me, Cries out, I was possess'd: then altogether They fell upon me, bound me, bore me thence; And in a dark and dankish vault at home There left me and my man, both bound together; Till gnawing with my teeth my bonds in sunder, I gaind my freedom, and immediately Ran hither to your grace; whom I beseech To give me ample satisfaction For these deep shames and great indignities.
Ang. My lord, in truth, thus far I witness with him; That he dined not at home, but was lock'd out.
Duke. But had he such a chain of thee, or no?
Ang. He had, my lord: and when he ran in here, These people saw the chain about his neck.
Mer. Besides, I will be sworn, these ears of mine Heard you
had the chain of him,
Ant. E. I never came within these abbey walls,
Duke. Why, what an intricate impeach is this!
1 A living dead man:] This thought appears to have been borrowed from Sackvil's Induction to The Mirror for Magistrates :
but as a ?jiung death,