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Time out of mind the fairies' coach-makers.
And in this state she gallops night by night
Through lovers' brains, and then they dream of love:
On courtiers' knees, that dream on court’sies straight:
O’er lawyers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream;
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweet-meats? tainted are.
Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,
And then dreams he of smelling out a suit ::

with sweet-meats - ] i. e. kissing-comfits. These artificial aids to perfume the breath, are mentioned by Falstaff, in the last Act of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Malone. 8 Sometime she gallops o'er a courtier's nose,

And then dreams he of smelling out a suit: &c.] Mr. Pope reads lawyer's nose. Steevens.

The old editons have it-courtier's nose; and this undoubtedly is the true reading; and for these reasons: First, In the new reading there is a vicious repetition in this fine speech; the same thought having been given in the foregoing line:

“O'er lawvers' fingers, who straight dream on fees :" Nor can it be objected that there will be the same fault if we read courtiers', it having been said before :

“On courtiers' knees, that dream on court’sies straight :" Because they are shown in two places under different views: in the first, their foppery; in the second, their rapacity is ridiculed. Secondly, in our author's time, a court-solicitation was called, simply, a suit, and a process, a suit at law, to distinguish it from the other. “The King (says an anonymous contemporary writer of the Life of Sir William Cecil) called him (Sir William Ce. cil] and after long talk with him, being much delighted with his answers, willed his father to FIND [i. e. to smell out] A suit for him. Whereupon he became sultor for the reversion of the Custos-brevium office in the Common Pleas; which the king wil. lingly granted, it being the first suit he had in his life.” Indeed our poet has very rarely turned his satire against lawyers and law proceedings, the common topick of later writers; for, to observe it to the honour of the English judicatures, they preserved the purity and simplicity of their first institution long after chicane had over-run all the other laws of Europe. Warburton.

As almost every book of that age furnishes proofs of what Dr. Warburton has observed, I shall add but one other instance, from Decker's Guls Hornebocke, 1609: “If you be a courtier, discourse of the obtaining of suits.Malone.

In these lines Dr. Warburton has very justly restored the old reading, courtier's nose, and has explained the passage with his usual learning; but I do not think he is so happy in his endea. your to justify Shakspeare from the charge of a vicious repetition

And sometimes comes she with a tithe-pig's tail,
Tickling a parson's nose as 'a lies asleep,
Then dreams he of another benefice:
Sometime she driveth o'er a soldier's neck,
And then dreams he of cutting foreign throats,
Of breaches, ambuscadoes, Spanish blades, 9

in introducing the courtier twice. The second folio, I observe, reads:

« On countries knees, -." which has lead me to conjecture, that the line ought to be read thus:

On counties knees, that dream on court’sies straight :Counties I understand to signify noblemen in general. Paris, who, in one place, I think, is called earl, is most commonly styled the county in this play. And so in Much Ado about Nothing, Act IV, we find:

« Princes and counties." And in All's Well that Ends Well, Act III:

“A ring the county wears.” The Countie Egmond is so called more than once in Holinshed, p. 1150, and in the Burleigh Papers, Vol. I, p. 204. See also p.7: The Countie Palatine Lowys. However, perhaps, it is as probable that the repetition of the courtier, which offends us in this passage, may be owing (not to any error of the press, but) to the players having jumbled together the varieties of several editions, as they certainly have done in other parts of the play.

Tyrwhitt. 'In the present instance, I think, it is more probable that the repetition arose from the cause assigned by Mr. Steevens.

Malone. At the first entry of the characters in the history of Orlando Furioso, played before Queen Elizabeth, and published in 1594 and 1599, Sacripant is called the Countie Sacripant. Again, Orlando, speaking of himself:

“ Surnam'd Orlando, the Countie Palatine.” Countie is at least repeated twenty times in the same play.'

Shakspeare, as I have observed before, did not always attend to the propriety of his own alterations. Steevens.

Spanish blades,] A sword is called a toledo, from the excellence of the Toletan steel. So Grotius:

Gladius Toletanus .
“Unda Tagi non est uno celebranda metallo;

« Utilis in cives est ibi lamna suos. Fohnson. The quarto, 1597, instead of Spanish blades, reads countermines.

Steevens. In the passage quoted from Grotius, alio has been constantly printed instead of uno, which makes it nonsense; the whole point of the couplet depending on that word. I have corrected it from the original. Malone.

9

Of healths five fathom deep;1 and then anon
Drums in his ear; at which he starts, and wakes;
And, being thus frighted, swears a prayer or two,
And sleeps again. This is that very Mab,
That plats the manes of horses in the night;
And bakes the eif-locks2 in foul sluttish hairs,
Which, once untangled, much misfortune bodes.
This is the hag, when maids lie on their backs,
That presses them, and learns them first to bear,
Making them women of good carriage.3
This, this is she-
Rom.

Peace, peace, Mercutio, peace;
Thou talk'st of nothing.
Mer.

True, I talk of dreams;
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy;
Which is as thin of substance as the air;
And more inconstant than the wind, who wooes
Even now the frozen bosom of the north,
And, being anger’d, putt's away from thence,
Turning his faces to the dew-dropping south.

Ben. This wind, you talk of, blows us from ourselves, Supper is done, and we shall come too late.

Rom. I fear, too early: for my mind misgives, Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars, Shall bitterly begin his fearful date

1 Of healths five fathom deep;] So, in Westward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607: “ – troth, sir, my master and sir Goslin are guzzling; they are dabbling together fathom deep. The knight has drunk so much health to the gentleman yonder, on his knees, that he hath almost lost the use of his legs.” Malone.

2 And bakes the elf-locks &c.] This was a common superstition; and seems to have had its rise from the horrid disease called the Plica Polonica. Warburton. So, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632:

“ And when I shook these locks, now knotted all,
“ As bak'd in blood, Malone.
of good carriage.] So, in Love's Labour's Lost Act I:

let them be men of good repute and carriage." Moth. Sampson, master; he was a man of good carriage; great carriage; for he carried the town-gates," &c. Steevens.

from thence,] The quarto, 1597, reads--in haste. Steevens.

his face ~] So the quarto, 1597. The other ancient co. pies have side. Malone.

5

With this night's revels; and expire the term
Of a despised life,6 clos’d in my breast,
By some vile forfeit of untimely death:
But He, that hath the steerage of my course,
Direct my sail!?-On, lusty gentlemen.
Ben. Strike, drum.8

[Exeunt.

SCENE V.9

A Hall in Capulet's House.

Musicians waiting. Enter Servants. 1 Serv. Where's Potpan, that he helps not to take away? he shift a trencher!1 he scrape a trencher!

2 Serv. When good manners shall lie all in one or two men's hands, and they unwashed too, 'tis a foul thing.

1 Serv. Away with the joint-stools, renove the court

6

1

and expire the term
Of a despised life,] So, in The Rape of Lucrece:

“ An expird date, cancell'd ere well begun.” Malone. 7 Direct my sail!] I have restored this reading from the elder quarto, as being more congruous to the metaphor in the preced. ing line. Suit is the reading of the folio. Steevens.

Suit is the corrupt reading of the quarto, 1599, from which it got into all the subsequent copies. Malone.

Direct my suit!] Guide the sequel of the adventure. Johnson.

8 Strike, drum. ] Here the folio adds: They march about the stage, and serving men come forth with their napkins. Steevens. 9 Scene V.) This scene is added since the first copy. Steevens.

he shift a trencher! &c.] Trenchers were still used by persons of good fashion in our author's time. In the Houshold Book of the Earls of Northumberland, compiled at the beginning of the same century, it appears that they were common to the tables of the first nobility. Percy.

To shift a trencher was technical. So, in The Miseries of Enforst Marriage, 1608, Sig. E 3: "– learne more manners, stand at your brothers backe, as to shift a trencher neately” &c. Reed.

They were common even in the time of Charles I. See Vol. II, p. 74, n. 4. Malone.

They continued common much longer in many publick societies, particularly in colleges and inns of court; and are still retained at Lincoln's-Inn. Nichols.

On the books of the Stationers' Company, in the year 1554, is the following entry: “ Item, payd for x dosyn of trenchers, xxi d.” Steevens.

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cupboard,2 look to the plate :--good thou, save me a piece of marchpane;3 and, as thou lovest me, let the porter let in Susan Grindstone, and Neil.-Antony! and Potpan!

2 Serv. Ay, boy; ready.

| Serv. You are looked for, and called for, asked for, and sought for, in the great chamber.

court-cupboard, ] I am not very certain that I know the exact signification of court-cupboard. Perhaps it served the pur. pose of what we call at present the side-board It is however frequently mentioned in the old plays. So, in A Humorous Day's Mirth, 1599:“ shadow these tables with their white veils, and accomplish the court-cupboardAgain, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606, by Chapman: “Here snall stand my court-cupboard, with its fur. niture of plate' Again, in The Roaring Girl, 1611:

“Place that in the court-cupboard.” Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635: ". - they are together on the cupboard of the court, or the court-cupboard." Again, in Chap. man's May-Dav, 1611: “ Court-cupboards planted with flaggons, cans, cups, beakers," &c. Two of these court-cupboards are still in Stationers' Hall.

Steevens. The use which to this day is made of those cupboards is exactly described in the above-quoted line of Chapman; to display at publick festivais the fingzons, cuns, cups, beakers, and other antique silver vessels of the company, some of which (with the names of the donors inscribed on them) are remarkably large.

Nichols. By remove the court.cupboard," the speaker means, I think, remove the Haggons, cups, ewers, &c. contained in it. A court. cupboard was not strictly what we now call a side-board, but a recess fitted up with shelves to contain plate, &c. for the use of the table. It was atierwards called a buffet, and continued to be used to the time of Pope:

“ The rich buffet well colour'd serpents grace,

“ And gaping Tritons spew to wash your face." The side-board was, I apprehend, introduced in the present century. Malone.

A court-cupboard was a moveable; a beaufet, a fixture. The for. mer was open, and made of plain oak; the latter had folding doors, and was both painted and gilded on the inside. Steevens.

3 — save me a piece of marchpane;) Marchpune was a confection made of pistacho-nuts, almonds, and sugar, &c. and in high esteem in Shakspeare's time; as appears from the account of Queen Elizabeth's entertainment in Cambridge. It is said that the University presented Sir William Cecil, their chancellor, with two pair of gloves, a marchpane, and two sugar-loaves.

Peck's Desiderata Guriosa, Vol. II, p. 29. Grey.

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