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CHARACTERS IN THE INDUCTION
To the Original Play of The Taming of a Shrew, en tered on the Stationers' books in 1594, and printed in quarto in 1607.
Valeria, servant to Aurelius.
Sander, servant to Ferando.
Phylotus, a merchant who personates the duke.
Before an Alehouse on a Heath,
Enter Hostess and SLY.
Sly. I'll pheese you,1 in faith.
Host. A pair of stocks, you rogue!
Sly. Y' are a baggage; the Slies are no rogues:*
1 I'll pheese you,] To pheese or fease, is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harass, to plague. Perhaps I'll pheese you, may be equivalent to I'll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character on like occasions. The following explanation of the word is given by Sir Thomas Smith, in his book de Sermone Anglico, printed by Robert Stephens, 4to: "To feize, means in fila diducere." Johnson.
Shakspeare repeats his use of the word in Troilus and Cressida, where Ajax says he will pheese the pride of Achilles: and Lovewit in The Alchemist employs it in the same sense. Again, in Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, 1589:
"Your pride serves you to feaze them all alone." Again, in Stanyhurst's version of the first Book of Virgil's
"We are touz'd, and from Italye feaz'd.”
Italis longe disjungimur oris.
"Feaze away the droane bees," &c. Steevens.
To pheeze a man, is to beat him; to give him a pheeze, is, to give him a knock. In The Chances, Antonio says of Don John, "I felt him in my small guts; I am sure he has feaz'd me."
M. Mason. To touze or toaze had the same signification. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: "Arruffare. To touze, to tug, to bang, or rib-baste one." Malone.
2- no rogues:] That is, vagrants, no mean fellows, but gentlemen. Johnson.
One William Sly was a performer in the plays of Shakspeare, as appears from the list of comedians prefixed to the folio, 1623.
Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris;3 let the world slide: Sessa!
Host. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst?5 Sly. No, not a denier: Go by, says Jeronimy;Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee."
This Sly is likewise mentioned in Heywood's Actor's Vindication, and the Induction to Marston's Malecontent. He was also among those to whom James I, granted a license to act at the Globe theatre in 1603. Steevens.
paucas pallabris;] Sly, as an ignorant fellow, is purposely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas palabras, i. e. few words: as they do likewise, Cessa, i. e. be quiet. Theobald.
This is a burlesque on Hieronymo, which Theobald speaks of in a following note: "What new device have they devised now? Pocas pallabras." In the comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611, a cut-purse makes use of the same words. Again, they appear in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638, and in some others, but are always appropriated to the lowest characters. Steevens.
• let the world slide:] This expression is proverbial. It is used in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit without Money:
will you go drink
"And let the world slide, uncle?" Steevens.
you have burst?] To burst and to break were anciently synonymous. Falstaff says, that "John of Gaunt burst Shallow's head for crouding in among the marshal's men."
Again, in Soliman and Perseda:
"God save you, sir, you have burst your shin." Steevens. Burst is still used for broke in the North of England. See Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, edit. 1780, Vol. XII, p. 375. Reed.
6 Go by, says Jeronimy;-Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.] The old copy reads-go by S Jeronimie-. Steevens.
All the editions have coined a Saint here, for Sly to swear by. But the poet had no such intentions. The passage has particuJar humour in it, and must have been very pleasing at that time of day. But I must clear up a piece of stage history to make it understood. There is a fustian old play called Hieronymo; or The Spanish Tragedy: which I find was the common butt of raillery to all the poets in Shakspeare's time: and a passage, that appeared very ridiculous in that play, is here humorously alluded to. Hieronymo, thinking himself injured, applies to the king for justice; but the courtiers, who did not desire his wrongs should be set in a true light, attempt to hinder him from an audience:
"Hiero. Justice! O! justice to Hieronymo.
"Lor. Back;-seest thou not the king is busy!
Host. I know my remedy, I must go fetch the thirdborough.7
"Hiero. O, is he so?
"King. Who is he, that interrupts our business?
"Hiero. Not I:-Hieronymo, beware; go by, go by.” So Sly here, not caring to be dunn'd by the Hostess, cries to her in effect; "Don't be troublesome, don't interrupt me, go by;" and to fix the satire in his allusion, pleasantly calls her Jeronimo. Theobald. The first part of this tragedy is called Jeronimo. The Tinker therefore does not say Jeronimo as a mistake for Hieronymo.
I believe the true reading is-Go by, says Jeronimo, and that thes was the beginning of the word says, which, by mistake, the printers did not complete. The quotation from the old play proves that it is Jeronimo himself that says, Go by. M. Mason. I have not scrupled to place Mr. M. Mason's judicious correc tion in the text. Steevens.
Surely Sly, who in a preceding speech is made to say Richard for William, paucas pallabris for pocas palabras, &c. may be allowed here to misquote a passage from the same play in which that scrap of Spanish is found, viz. The Spanish Tragedy. He afterwards introduces a saint in form.-The similitude, however slight, between Jeronimy and S. Jerome, who in Sly's dialect would be Jeremy, may be supposed the occasion of the blunder. He does not, I conceive, mean to address the Hostess by the name of Jeronimy, as Mr. Theobald supposed, but merely to quote a line from a popular play. Nym, Pistol, and many other of Shakspeare's low characters, quote scraps of plays with equal infidelity.
There are two passages in The Spanish Tragedy here alluded to. One quoted by Mr. Theobald, and this other:
"What outcry calls me from my naked bed?"
Sly's making Jeronimy a saint is surely not more extravagant than his exhorting his Hostess to go to her cold bed to warm herself; or declaring that he will go to his cold bed for the same purpose; for perhaps, like Hieronymo, he here addresses himself.
In King Lear, Edgar, when he assumes the madman, utters the same words that are here put in the mouth of the tinker: "Humph; go to thy cold bed, and warm thee." Malone.
7 - I must go fetch the thirdborough.] The old copy reads: I must go fetch the headborough.
Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, &c. Steevens. This corrupt reading had passed down through all the copies, and none of the editors pretended to guess at the poet's conceit. What an insipid unmeaning reply does Sly make to his Hostess? How do third, or fourth, or fifth borough relate to Headborough? The author intended but a poor witticism, and even that is lost. The Hostess would say, that she 'd fetch a constable: and this
Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law: I'll not budge an inch, boy; let him come and kindly. [Lies down on the ground and falls asleep.8
Wind Horns. Enter a Lord from hunting, with Huntsmen and Servants.
Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my hounds:
Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd,'
officer she calls by his other name, a Third-borough: and upon this term Sly founds the conundrum in his answer to her. Who does not perceive at a single glance, some conceit started by this certain correction? There is an attempt at wit, tolerable enough for a tinker, and one drunk too. Third-borough is a Saxon term sufficiently explained by the glossaries: and in our statute-books no further back than the 28th year of Henry VIII, we find it used to signify a constable. Theobald.
In the Persone Dramatis to Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub, the high-constable, the petty-constable, the head-borough, and the thirdborough, are enumerated as distinct characters. It is difficult to say precisely what the office of a third-borough was. Steevens.
The office of third-borough is known to all acquainted with the civil constitution of this country, to be co-extensive with that of the constable. Sir J. Hawkins.
-falls asleep.] The spurious play, already mentioned, begins thus:
"Enter a Tapster, beating out of his doores Slie drunken. Taps. You whoreson drunken slave, you had best be gone, "And empty your drunken panch somewhere else, For in this house thou shalt not rest to night. "Slie. Tilly vally; by crisee Tapster Ile fese you anone: "Fills the t'other pot, and all 's paid for: looke you, "I doe drink it of mine own instigation. "Heere Ile lie awhile: why Tapster, I say, "Fill's a fresh cushen heere:
"Heigh ho, here 's good warme lying.
[He falls asleepe.
"Enter a noble man and his men from hunting." Steevens. 9 Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is emboss'd,] Here, says Pope, brach signifies a degenerate hound: but Edwards explains it a hound in general.
That the latter of these criticks is right, will appear from the use of the word brach, in Sir T. More's Comfort against Tribulation, Book III, ch. xxiv:-" Here it must be known of some men that can skill of hunting, whether that we mistake not our terms, for then are we utterly ashamed as ye wott well. And I am so cunning, that I cannot tell, whether among them a bitche be a bitche or no; but as I remember she is no bitch but a brache." The meaning of the latter part of the paragraph seems to be, "I