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Dro. S. I never spake with her in all my life.

Ant. S. How can she thus then call us by our names, Unless it be by inspiration?

Adr. How ill agrees it with your gravity,
To counterfeit thus grossly with your slave,
Abetting him to thwart me in my mood?
Be it my wrong, you are from me exempt,2
But wrong not that wrong with a more contempt.
Come, I will fasten on this sleeve of thine:
Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine;3
Whose weakness, married to thy stronger state,*
Makes me with thy strength to communicate:
If aught possess thee from me, it is dross,
Usurping ivy, briar, or idle moss; 5


-you are from me exempt,] Exempt, separated, parted. The sense is, If I am doomed to suffer the wrong of separation, yet injure not with contempt me who am already injured Johnson.

Johnson says that exempt means separated, parted; and the use of the word in that sense may be supported by a passage in Beaumont and Fletcher's Triumph of honour, where Valerius, in the character of Mercury, says

"To shew rash vows cannot bind destiny,

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Lady, behold the rocks transported be.

"Hard-hearted Dorigen! yield, lest for contempt

"They fix you there a rock, whence they're exempt.” Yet I think that Adriana does not use the word exempt in that sense, but means to say, that as he was her husband she had no power over him, and that he was privileged to do her wrong.

M Mason. 3 Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine; &c.] Thus, in Ovid's tale of Vertumnus and Pomona:

"Ulmus erat contra, spatiosa tumentibus uvis:
"Quam socia postquam pariter cum vite probavit;
"At si staret, ait, cœlebs, sine palmite truncus,
"Nil præter frondes, quare peteretur, haberet.
"Hæc quoque, quæ juncta vitis requiescit in ulmo,
"Si non nupta foret, terræ acclinata jaceret." Steevens
"Lenta, qui, velut assitas

"Vitis implicat arbores,

'Implicabitur in tuum

66 Complexum." Catull. 57.

So, Milton, Paradise Lost, B. V:


66 They led the vine

"To wed her elm. She spous'd, about him twines

"Her marriageable arms."


stronger state,] The old copy has-stranger. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.

Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion
Infect thy sap, and live on thy confusion.

Ant. S. To me she speaks; she "moves" me for her

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What, was I married to her in my dream?

Or sleep I now, and think I hear all this? draws What error"drives"our eyes and ears amiss? Until I know this sure uncertainty, effered I'll entertain the "offer'd fallacy."

Luc. Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner. Dro. S. O, for my beads! I cross me for a sinner. This is the fairy land;-O, spite of spites!

elves and We talk with goblins, owls, and elvish'sprites;7


idle moss; ss;] i. e. moss that produces no fruit, but being unfertile is useless. So, in Othello:


antres vast and desarts idle."


the offer'd fallacy,] The old copy has :
the free'd fallacy.

Which perhaps was only, by mistake, for—

"the offer'd fallacy.”

This conjecture is from an anonymous correspondent.
Mr. Pope reads-favour'd fallacy. Steevens.

We talk with goblins, owls, and elvish sprites;] Here Mr. Theobald calls out, in the name of Nonsense, the first time he had formally invoked her, to tell him how owls could suck their breath, and pinch them black and blue. He therefore alters owls to ouphs, and dares say, that his readers will acquiesce in the justness of his emendation. But, for all this, we must not part with the old reading. He did not know it to be an old popular superstition, that the screech-owl sucked out the breath and blood of infants in the cradle. On this account, the Italians called witches, who were supposed to be in like manner mischievously bent against children, strega from strix the screech-owl. This superstition they had derived from their pagan ancestors, as appears from this passage of Ovid:

"Sunt avidæ volucres; non quæ Phineïa mensis

"Guttura fraudabant; sed genus inde trahunt.
"Grande caput; stantes oculi; rostra apta rapinæ ;
"Canities pennis, unguibus hamus inest.
"Nocte volant, puerosque petunt nutricis egentes,
"Et vitiant cunis corpora rapta suis.

"Carpere dicuntur luctantia viscera rostris,

"Et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent. "Est illis strigibus nomen:-."

Lib. VI, Fast.


Ghastly owls accompany elvish ghosts, in Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar for June. So, in Sherringham's Discerptatio de Anglorum Gentis Origine, p. 333: "Lares, Lemures, Stryges, Lamiæ, Manes

If we obey them not, this will ensue,

They'll suck our breath, or pinch us black and blue.
Luc. Why prat'st thou to thyself, and answer'st not?
Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!

Dro. S. I am transformed, master, am not I?9
Ant. S. I think, thou art, in mind, and so am I.
Dro. S. Nay, master, both in mind, and in my shape.
Ant. S. Thou hast thine own form.

Dro. S.

No, I am an ape.

(Gastæ dicti) et similes monstrorum Greges, Elvarum Chorea dicebatur." Much the same is said in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, p. 112, 113. Toilet.

Owls are also mentioned in Cornucopiæ, or Pasquil's Night-cap, or Antidote for the Headach, 1623, p. 38:


Dreading no dangers of the darksome night,

"No oules, hobgoblins, ghosts, nor water-spright."

Steevens. How, it is objected, should Shakspeare know that striges or screech-owls were considered by the Romans as witches? The notes of Mr Tollet and Mr. Steevens, as well as the following passage in The London Prodigal, a comedy, 1605, afford the best answer to this question: "Soul, I think, I am sure cross'd or witch'd with an owl." Malone.

The epithet elvish is not in the first folio, but the second has→→ elves, which certainly was meant for elvish Steevens.

All the emendations made in the second folio having been merely arbitrary, any other suitable epithet of two syllables may have been the poet's word. Mr. Rowe first introduced-elvish. Malone.

I am satisfied with the epithet-elvish. It was probably inserted in the second folio on some authority which cannot now be ascertained. It occurs again, in King Richard III:

"Thou elvish-mark'd abortive, rooting hog."

Why should a book, which has often judiciously filled such vacuities, and rectified such errors, as disgrace the the folio 1623, be so perpetually distrusted? Steevens.

8 Dromio, thou drone, &c.] The old copy readsDromio, thou Dromio, snail, thou slug, thou sot!


This verse is half a foot too long; my correction cures that fault; besides, drone corresponds with the other appellations of reproach Theobald.

Drone is also a term of reproach applied by Shylock to Launcelot, in The Merchant of Venice:


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he sleeps by day

"More than the wild cat; drones hive not with me."


am not I] Old copy-am I not? Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.

Luc. If thou art, chang'd to aught, 'tis to an ass.

Dro. S. 'Tis true; she rides me, and I long for grass.

Tis so, I am an ass; else it could never be,

But I should know her as well as she knows me.

Adr. Come, come, no longer will I be a fool,
To put the finger in the eye and weep,

Whilst man, and master, laugh my woes to scorn.➡
Come, sir, to dinner; Dromio, keep the gate:-
Husband, I'll dine above with you to-day,
And shrive you1 of a thousand idle pranks:
Sirrah, if any ask you for your master,
Say, he dines forth, and let no creature enter.-
Come, sister:-Dromio, play the porter well.

Ant. S. Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Sleeping or waking? mad, or well-advis'd?
Known unto these, and to myself disguis'd!
I'll say as they say, and perséver so,
And in this mist at all adventures go.

Dro. S. Master, shall I be porter at the gate?
Adr. Ay; and let none enter, lest I break your pate.
Luc. Come, come, Antipholus, we dine too late.



The same.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, DROMIO of Ephesus, ANGELO, and BALTHAZAR.

Ant. E. Good signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;2 My wife is shrewish, when I keep not hours:

Say, that I linger'd with you at your shop,

1 And shrive you -] That is, I will call you to confession, and make you tell your tricks. Johnson.

So, in Hamlet: "not shriving time allow'd." Steevens.

2 Good signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;] I suppose, the word-all, which overloads the measure, without improvement of the sense, might be safely omitted, as an interpolation.


To see the making of her carkanet,3

And that to-morrow you will bring it home.
But here's a villain, that would face me down
He met me on the mart; and that I beat him,
And charg'd him with a thousand marks in gold;
And that I did deny my wife and house:—

Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by this? Dro. E. Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know:

For certain

That you beat me at the mart, I have your hand to show:
If"the skin were parchment, and the blows you gave
Your own handwriting would tell you what I think.
Ant. E. I think, thou art an ass.

Dro. E.

were ink,


Marry, so it doth appear By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear.^

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carkanet,] Seems to have been a necklace, or rather chain, perhaps hanging down double from the neck. So, Lovelace, in his poem:


"The empress spreads her carcanets." Johnson. Quarquan, ornement d'or qu'on mit au col des damoiselles." Le grand Dict. de Nicot. A carkanet seems to have been a necklace set with stones, or strung with pearls. Thus, in Partheneia Sacra, &c 1633: "Seeke not vermillion or ceruse in the face, bracelets of oriental pearls on the wrist, rubie carkanets on the neck, and a most exquisite fan of feathers in the hand."

Again, in Histriomastix, or the Player whipt, 1610:

"Nay, I'll be matchless for a curcanet,

"Whose pearls and diamonds plac'd with ruby rocks
"Shall circle this fair neck to set it forth."

Again, in Sir W. D'Avenant's comedy of The Wits, 1636:
she sat on a rich Persian quilt


"Threading a carkanet of pure round pearl
"Bigger than pigeons eggs."

Again, in The Changes, or Love in a Maze, 1632:


the drops

"Shew like a carkanet of pearl upon it."

In the play of Soliman and Perseda, 1599, the word carcanet occurs eight or nine times.

• 4 Marry, so it doth appear


By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear.] Thus all the printed copies, but, certainly, this is cross-purposes in reasoning. It appears, Dromio is an ass by his making no resistance; because an ass, being kicked, kicks again. Our author never argues at this wild rate, where his text is genuine. Theobald.

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