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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,
-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,
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:
"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
Ant. S. To me she speaks; she "moves" me for her
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 :
Which perhaps was only, by mistake, for—
"the offer'd fallacy.”
This conjecture is from an anonymous correspondent.
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.
"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.
Dro. S. I am transformed, master, am not I?9
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:
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,
Whilst man, and master, laugh my woes to scorn.➡
Ant. S. Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Dro. S. Master, shall I be porter at the gate?
ACT III.....SCENE I.
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.
Thou drunkard, thou, what didst thou mean by this? Dro. E. Say what you will, sir, but I know what I know:
That you beat me at the mart, I have your hand to show:
Marry, so it doth appear By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear.^
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
Again, in Sir W. D'Avenant's comedy of The Wits, 1636:
"Threading a carkanet of pure round pearl
Again, in The Changes, or Love in a Maze, 1632:
"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.