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feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the overleather.
Lord. Heaven cease this idle humour in your honour!
Of such possessions, and so high esteem,
Sly. What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath;7 by birth a pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, if she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for "sheerʼale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught: Here's
7 of Burton-heath;
Marian Hacket the fat ale-wife of Wincot,] I suspect we should read-Barton-heath. Barton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Gloucestershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character. Steevens.
Wilnecotte is a village in Warwickshire, with which Shakspeare was well acquainted, near Stratford. The house kept by our genial hostess, still remains, but is at present a mill. The meanest hovel to which Shakspeare has an allusion, interests curiosity, and acquires an importance: at least, it becomes the object of a poetical antiquarian's inquiries. T. Warton.
Burton Dorset is a village in Warwickshire. Ritson.
There is likewise a village in Warwickshire called Burton Hastings.
Among Sir A. Cockayn's Poems (as Dr. Farmer and Mr. Steevens have observed) there is an epigram on Sly and his ale, addressed to Mr. Clement Fisher of Wincot.
The text is undoubtedly right.
There is a village in Warwickshire called Barton on the Heath, where Mr. Dover, the founder of the Cotswold games, lived.
8 I am not bestraught:] I once thought that if our poet did not design to put a corrupted word into the mouth of the Tinker, we ought to read-distraught, i. e. distracted. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
"O, if I wake, shall I not be distraught," &c. For there is no verb extant from which the participle bestraught can be formed. In Albion's England, however, by Warner, 1602, I meet with the word as spelt by Shakspeare:
"Now teares had drowned further speech, till she as one bestrought
1 Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn. 2 Serv. O, this it is that makes your servants droop. Lord. Hence comes it that your kindred shun your house,
As beaten hence by your strange lunacy.
O, noble lord, bethink thee of thy birth;
Call home thy ancient thoughts from banishment,
Look how thy servants do attend on thee,
Each in his office ready at thy beck.
Wilt thou have musick? hark! Apollo plays, [Musick.
And twenty caged nightingales do sing:
Or wilt thou sleep? we 'll have thee to a couch,
On purpose trimm'd up for Semiramis.
Say, thou wilt walk; we will bestrew the ground:
1 Serv. Say, thou wilt course; thy greyhounds are as swift
As breathed stags, ay, fleeter than the roe.
2 Serv. Dost thou love pictures? we will fetch thee straight
Adonis, painted by a running brook:
And Cytherea all in sedges hid;
Which seem to move and wanton with her breath,
Even as the waving sedges play with wind.
Lord. We'll show thee Io, as she was a maid; And how she was beguiled and surpris'd,
As lively painted as the deed was done.
3 Serv. Or Daphne, roaming through a thorny wood; Scratching her legs that one shall swear she bleeds: And at that sight shall sad Apollo weep,
So workmanly the blood and tears are drawn.
Lord. Thou art a lord, and nothing but a lord:
Bestraught seems to have been synonymous to distraught or distracted. See Minshieu's Dict. 1617: "Bestract, a Lat. distractus mente. Vi. Mad and Bedlam." Malone.
Thou hast a lady far more beautiful
Than any woman in this waning age.
1 Serv. And, till the tears that she hath shed for thee, Like envious floods, o'er-ran her lovely face, She was the fairest creature in the world;
And yet she is inferior to none.
Sly. Am I a lord? and have I such a lady?
I smell sweet savours, and I feel soft things:-
And not a tinker, nor Christophero Sly.-
And once again, a pot o' the smallest ale.
2 Serv. Will 't please your mightiness to wash your hands?
[Servants present an ewer, bason, and napkin. O, how we joy to see your wit restor❜d!
O, that once more you knew but what you are!
1 Serv. O, yes, my lord; but very idle words:—
And say, you would present her at the leet,
9 leet,] At the Court-leet, or courts of the manor. Johnson. And say, you would present her at the leet,
Because she brought stone jugs, and no seal'd quarts:] The leet is the Court-leet, or View of frank pledge, held anciently once a-year, within a particular hundred, manor, or lordship, before the steward of the leet. See Kitchen, On Courts, 4th edit. 1663: "The residue of the matters of the charge which ensue," says that writer, on Court Leets, p. 21, "are enquirable and presentable, and also punishable in a leet." He then enumerates the various articles, of which the following is the twenty-seventh: "Also if tiplers sell by cups and dishes, or measures sealed, or not sealed, is inquirable." See also, Characterismi, or Lenton's Leasures, 12mo. 1631: "He [an informer] transforms himselfe into several shapes, to avoid suspicion of inne-holders, and inwardly joyes at the sight of a blacke pot or jugge, knowing that their sale by sealed quarts, spoyles his market." Malone.
Because she brought stone jugs and no seal'd quarts: Sometimes you would call out for Cicely Hacket.
Sly. Ay, the woman 's maid of the house.
3 Serv. Why, sir, you know no house, nor no such
Nor no such men, as you have reckon'd up,—
And twenty more such names and men as these,
Sly. Now, Lord be thanked for my good amends!
Sly. I thank thee; thou shalt not lose by it.
Enter the Page, as a lady, with Attendants.3 Page. How fares my noble lord?
John Naps of Greece,] A hart of Greece, was a fat hart. Graisse, Fr. So, in the old ballad of Adam Bell, &c.
"Eche of them slew a hart of graece."
Again, in Ives's Select Papers, at the coronation feast of Elizabeth of York, queen of King Henry VII, among other dishes were "capons of high Greece."
Perhaps this expression was used to imply that John Naps (who might have been a real character) was a fat man: or as Poins calls the associates of Falstaff, Trojans, John Naps might be called a Grecian for such another reason. Steevens.
For old John Naps of Greece, read-old John Naps o' th' Green. Blackstone.
The addition seems to have been a common one. So, in our author's King Henry IV, P. II:
"Who is next?-Peter Bullcalf of the Green." Malone.
2 In this place, Mr. Pope, and after him other editors, had introduced the three following speeches, from the old play, 1607. I have already observed that it is by no means probable, that this former comedy of The Taming of the Shrew was written by Shakspeare, and have therefore removed them from the text: "Sly. By the mass, I think I am a lord indeed:
"What is thy name?
"Man. Sim, an it please your honour.
"Sly. Sim? that's as much as to say, Simeon, or Simon.
"Put forth thy hand, and fill the pot."
3 Enter the Page, &c.] Thus in the original play:
"Enter the Boy in woman's attire.
"Slie. Sim, is this she?
"Lord. I, my lord.
"Slie. Masse 'tis a pretty wench; what's her name?
Sly. Marry, I fare well; for here is cheer enough. Where is my wife?
Page. Here, noble lord; What is thy will with her? Sly. Are you my wife, and will not call me-husband? My men should call me-lord; I am your good-man. Page. My husband and my lord, my lord and husband;
I am your wife in all obedience.
Sly. I know it well:-What must I call her?
Sly. Al'ce madam, or Joan madam?
Lord. Madam, and nothing else; so lords call ladies.
Above some fifteen year and more.
Page. Ay, and the time seems thirty unto me;
Sly. "Tis much;
-Servants, leave me and her
Madam, undress you, and come now to bed.
"Boy. Oh that my lovelie lord would once vouchsafe
"To paint in words what Ile performe in deedes,
"I know your honour then would pitie me.
"Slie. Harke you, mistresse; will you eat a peece of bread?
"Come, sit downe on my knee: Sim, drinke to her, Sim;
"For she and I will go to bed anon.
"Lord. May it please you, your honour's plaiers be come
"To offer your honour a plaie.
"Slie. A plaie, Sim, Ó brave! be they my plaiers?
"Lord. I, my lord.
"Slie. Is there not a foole in the plaie ?
"Lord. Yes, my lord.
"Slie. When will they plaie, Sim?
"Lord. Even when it please your honour; they be readie.
"Boy. My lord, Ile go bid them begin their plaie.
"Slie. Doo, but looke that you come againe.
"Boy. I warrant you, my lord; I will not leave you thus.
"Slie. Come, Sim, where be the plaiers? Sim, stand by me, "And we 'll flowt the plaiers out of their coates.
"Lord. Ile cal them my lord. Ho, where are you there? "Sound trumpets.
"Enter two young gentlemen, and a man, and a boy." Steevens.