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KENT. If I had thee in Lipsbury pinfold, I would make thee care for me.
Lipsbury pinfold,] The allusion which seems to be contained in this line I do not understand. In the violent eruption of reproaches which bursts from Kent, in this dialogue, there are some epithets which the commentators have left unexpounded, and which I am not very able to make clear. Of a three-suited knave, I know not the meaning, unless it be that he has different dresses for different occupations. Lily-livered is cowardly; white-blooded and white-livered are still in vulgar use. An one-trunk-inheriting slave, I take to be a wearer of old cast-off clothes, an inheritor of torn breeches. JOHNSON.
I do not find the name of Lipsbury: it may be a cant phrase, with some corruption, taken from a place where the fines were arbitrary. Three-suited should, I believe, be third-suited, wearing clothes at the third hand. Edgar, in his pride, had three suits only. FARMER.
Lipsbury pinfold may be a cant expression importing the same as Lob's Pound. So, in Massinger's Duke of Milan:
"To marry her, and say he was the party
A pinfold is a pound. Thus, in Gascoigne's Dan Bartholemew of Bathe, 1587:
"In such a pin-folde were his pleasures pent."
Three-suited knave might mean, in an age of ostentatious finery like that of Shakspeare, one who had no greater change of raiment than three suits would furnish him with. So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman: "wert a pitiful fellow, and hadst nothing but three suits of apparel:" or it may signify a fellow thrice-sued at law, who has three suits for debt standing out against him. A one-trunk-inheriting slave may be a term used to describe a fellow, the whole of whose possessions are confined to one coffer, and that too inherited from his father, who was no better provided, or had nothing more to bequeath to his successor in poverty; a poor rogue hereditary, as Timon calls Apemantus. A worsted-stocking knave is another reproach of the same kind. The stockings in England, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, (as I learn from Stubbs's Anatomie of Abuses, printed in 1595,) were remarkably expensive, and scarce any other kind than silk were worn, even (as this author says) by those who had not above forty shillings a year wages. So, in an old comedy, called The Hog hath lost its Pearl, 1614, by R. Tailor: "good parts are no more set by in these times, than a good leg in a woollen stocking."
STEW. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee
KENT. Fellow, I know thee.
STEW. What dost thou know me for?
KENT. A knave; a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, threesuited, hundred-pound, filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking knave;' a whorson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue ;2
Again, in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher: "Green sicknesses and serving-men light on you, "With greasy breeches, and in woollen stockings." Again, in The Miseries of inforc'd Marriage, 1607, two sober young men come to claim their portion from their elder brother, who is a spendthrift, and tell him: "Our birth-right, good brother: this town craves maintenance; silk stockings must be had," &c.
Silk stockings were not made in England till 1560, the second year of Queen Elizabeth's reign. Of this extravagance Drayton takes notice, in the 16th Song of his Polyolbion:
"Which our plain fathers erst would have accounted sin, "Before the costly coach and silken stock came in.” STEEVENS.
This term of reproach also occurs in The Phoenix, by Middleton, 1607: "Mettreza Auriola keeps her love with half the cost that I am at; her friend can go afoot, like a good husband; walk in worsted stockings, and inquire for the sixpenny ordinary."
-hundred-pound,] A hundred-pound gentleman is a term of reproach used in Middleton's Phoenix, 1607. STEEVENS.
-action-taking knave;] i. e. a fellow, who, if you beat him, would bring an action for the assault, instead of resenting it like a man of courage. M. MASON.
a whorson, glass-gazing,-rogue;] This epithet none of the commentators have explained; nor am I sure that I understand it. In Timon of Athens, "the glass-fac'd flatterer" is mentioned, that is, says Dr. Johnson, "he that shows in his own look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron." Glass-gazing may be licentiously used for one enamoured of himself; who gazes often at his own person in a glass. MALONE.
one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldest be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition.
STEW. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one, that is neither known of thee, nor knows thee?
KENT. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou knowest me? Is it two days ago, since I tripped up thy heels, and beat thee, before the king? Draw, you rogue: for, though it be night, the moon shines; I'll make a sop o'the moonshine of you: Draw, you whorson cullionly barber. monger, draw. [Drawing his Sword.
-addition.] i. e. titles. The Statute 1 Hen. V. ch. 5, which directs that in certain writs a description should be added to the name of the defendant, expressive of his estate, mystery, degree, &c. is called the statute of Additions. MALONE.
Kent is not only boisterous in his manners, but abusive in his language. His excessive ribaldry proceeds from an over solicitude to prevent being discovered; like St. Peter's swearing from a similar motive. HENLEY.
-I'll make a sop o'the moonshine of you:] This is equivalent to our modern phrase of making the sun shine through any one. But, alluding to the natural philosophy of that time, it is obscure. The Peripateticks thought, though falsely, that the rays of the moon were cold and moist. The speaker therefore says, he would make a sop of his antagonist, which should absorb the humidity of the moon's rays, by letting them into his guts. For this reason Shakspeare, in Romeo and Juliet, says: -the moonshine's watry beams,'
And, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:
"Quench'd in the chaste beams of the watry moon." WARBURTON.
I much question if our author had so deep a meaning as is here imputed to him by his more erudite commentator. STEEVENS,
STEW. Away; I have nothing to do with thee. KENT. Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king; and take vanity the puppet's part, against the royalty of her father: Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks:-draw, you rascal;
come your ways.
STEW. Help, ho! murder! help!
I'll make a sop o'the moonshine of you:] Perhaps here an equivoque was intended. In The Old Shepherd's "Kalendar, among the dishes recommended for Prymetyne, "One is egges in moneshine." FARMER.
Again, in some verses within a letter of Howell's to Sir Thomas How:
"Could I those whitely stars go nigh,
"I'd poach them, and as moonshine dress,
"To make my Delia a curious mess." STEEvens.
I suppose he means, that after having beaten the Steward sufficiently, and made his flesh as soft as moistened bread, he will lay him flat on the ground, like a sop in a pan, or a tankard. So, in Troilus and Cressida:
"And make a sop of all this solid globe." MALONE.
barber-monger,] Of this word I do not clearly see the force. JOHNSON.
Barber-monger may mean, dealer in the lower tradesmen : a slur upon the steward, as taking fees for a recommendation to the business of the family. FARMER.
A barber-monger; i. e. a fop who deals much with barbers, to adjust his hair and beard. M. MASON.
Barber-monger perhaps means one who consorts much with
vanity the puppet's part,] Alluding to the mysteries or allegorical shows, in which vanity, iniquity, and other vices, were personified. JOHNSON.
So, in Volpone, or the Fox:
"Get you a cittern, Lady Vanity." STEEVENS.
Dr. Johnson's description is applicable only to the old moralities, between which and the mysteries there was an essential difference. RITSON.
KENT. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave," strike.
STEW. Help, ho! murder! murder!
Enter EDMUND, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER, and Servants.
EDM. How now? What's the matter? Part. KENT. With you, goodman boy, if you please; come, I'll flesh you; come on, young master. GLO. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here? CORN. Keep peace, upon your lives; He dies, that strikes again: What is the matter? REG. The messengers from our sister and the
CORN. What is your difference? speak.
KENT. No marvel, you have so bestirred your valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee; a tailor made thee.
-neat slave,] You mere slave, you very slave.
You neat slave, I believe, means no more than you finical rascal, you who are an assemblage of foppery and poverty. Ben Jonson uses the same epithet in his Poetaster:
"By thy leave, my neat scoundrel." STEEVens.
He dies, that strikes again:] So, in Othello:
-nature disclaims in thee;] So the quartos and the folio. The modern editors read, without authority:
nature disclaims her share in thee.
The old reading is the true one. So, in R. Brome's Northern Lass, 1633:
-I will disclaim in your favour hereafter."