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but the Tribulation of Tower-hill, or the limbs of Limehouse, their dear brothers, are able to endure. I have
In Wit without Money, by Beaumont and Fletcher, is the following mention of them: “ - break in at plays like prentices, for three a groat, and crack nuts with the scholars in penny rooms again."
Again, in The Black Book, 1604, sixpenny rooms in play-houses are spoken of.
Again, in The Bellman's Night Walks, by Decker, 1616: “Pay thy twopence to a player in this gallery, thou may'st sit by a har. lot." Again, in the Prologue to Beaumont and Fletcher's Mad Lo
“How many twopences you ’ve stow'd to-day!” The prices of the boxes indeed were greater.
So, in The Gul's Hornbook, by Decker, 1609: “At a new playe you take up the twelvepenny room next the stage, because the lords and you may seeme to be haile fellow well met,” &c. Again, in Wit without Money :
“And who extolld you in the half-crown boxes,
“Where you might sit and muster all the beauties.” And lastly, it appears from the Induction to Bartholomew Fair, by Ben Jonson, that tobacco was smoked in the same place: “He looks like a fellow that I have seen accommodate gentlemen with tobacco at our theatres." And from Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman Hater, 1607, it should seem that beer was sold there : “There is no poet acquainted with more shakings and quakings towards the latter end of his new play, when he's in that case that he stands peeping between the curtains so fearfully, that a bottle of ale cannot be opened, but he thinks somebody hisses."
Steevens. the Tribulation of Tower-bill, or the limbs of Limehouse,] I suspect the Tribulation to have been a puritanical meetinghouse. The limbs of Limehouse I do not understand. Johnson.
Alliteration has given rise to many cant expressions, consisting of words paired together. Here we have cant names for the inha. bitants of those places, who were notorious puritans, coined for the humour of the alliteration. In the mean time it must not be forgotten, that “precious limbs" was a common phrase of contempt for the puritans. T. Warton.
Limehouse was, before the time of Shakspeare, and has continued to be ever since, the residence of those who furnish stores, sails, &c. for shipping. A great number of foreigners having been constantly employed in these manufactures (many of which were introduced from other countries) they assembled themselves under their several pastors, and a number of places of different worship were built in consequence of their respective associations. As they clashed in principles they had frequent quarrels, and the place has ever since been famous for the variety of its sects, and some of them in Limbo Patrum, 8 and there they are like to dance these three days; besides the running banquet of two beadles,' that is to come.
the turbulence of its inhabitants. It is not improbable that Shak. speare wrote-the lambs of Limehouse. Steevens.
The word limb, in the sense of an impudently vicious person, is not uncommon in London at this day. In the north it is pronounced limp, and means a mischievous boy. The alteration suggested by Mr. Steevens is, however, sufficiently countenanced by the word tribulation, if in fact the allusion be to the puritans.
Ritson. It appears from Stowe's Survey that the inhabitants of Tower. hill were remarkably turbulent.
It may, however, be doubted, whether this passage was level. led at the spectators assembled in any of the theatres in our author's time. It may have been pointed at some apprentices and inferior citizens, who used occasionally to appear on the stage, in his time, for their amusement. The Palsgrave, or Hector of Germany, was acted in 1615, by a company of citizens at the Red Bull; and, The Hog hath lost his Pearle, a comedy, 1614, is said, in the title-page, to have been publickly acted by certain London 'prentices.
The fighting for bitten apples, which were then, as at present, thrown on the stage, (See the Induction to Bartholomew Fair: “ Your judgment, rascal; for what?-Sweeping the stage? or, gathering up the broken apples ?”—) and the words—"which no audience can endure,” might lead us to suppose that these thunderers at the play-house, were actors, and not spectators.
The limbs of Limehouse, their deur brothers, were, perhaps, young citizens, who went to see their friends wear the buskin. A passage in The Staple of News, by Ben Jonson, Act III, sc. last, may throw some light on that now before us: “Why, I had it from my maid Foan Hearsay, and she had it from a limb of the school, she says, a little limb of nine years old.-An there were no wiser than I, I would have ne'er a cunning school-master in England.-They make all their scholars play-boys. Is 't not a fine sight, to see all our children made interluders? Do we pay our money for this? We send them to learn their grammar and their Terence, and they learn their play-books."-School-boys, apprentices, the students in the inns of court, and the members of the universities, all, at this time, wore occasionally the sock or the buskin.-However, I am by no means confident that this is the true interpretation of the passage before us. Malone.
It is evident that The Tribulation, from its site, must have been a place of entertainment for the rabble of its precincts, and the limbs of Limehouse such performers as furnished out the show.
Henley. The Tribulation does not sound in my ears like the name of any place of entertainment, unless it were particularly designed
Enter the Lord Chamberlain. Cham. Mercy o'me, what a multitude are here! They grow still too, from all parts they are coming, As if we kept a fair here! Where are these porters, These lazy knaves ?-Ye have made a fine hand, fellows. There's a trim rabble let in: Are all these Your faithful friends o’the suburbs? We shall have Great store of room, no doubt, left for the ladies, When they pass back from the christening. Port.
An't please your honour We are but men; and what so many may do, Not being torn a pieces, we have done: An army cannot rule them. Cham.
As I live, If the king blame me for 't, I 'll lay ye
all By the heels, and suddenly; and on your heads Clap round fines, for neglect: You are lazy knaves;
for the use of Religion's prudes, the Puritans. Mercutio or Truewit would not have been attracted by such an appellation, though it might operate forcibly on the saint-like organs of Ebenezer or Ananias.
Shakspeare, I believe, meant to describe an audience familiarized to excess of noise; and why should we suppose the Tribulation was not a puritanical meeting-house because it was noisy? I can easily conceive that the turbulence of the most clamorous theatre, has been exceeded by the bellowings of puritanism against surplices and farthingales; and that our upper gallery, during Christmas week, is a sober consistory, compared with the vehemence of fanatick harangues against Bel and the Dragon, that idol Starch, the anti-christian Hierarchy, and the Whore of Babylon.
Neither do I see with what propriety the limbs of Limehouse could be called “young citizens,” according to Mr. Malone's supposition. Were the inhabitants of this place (almost two miles distant from the capital) ever collectively entitled citizens? The phrase, dear brothers, is very plainly used to point out some fraternity of canters allied to the Tribulation both in pursuits and manners, by tempestuous zeal and consummate ignorance. Steevens.
in Limbo Patrum,] He means, in confinement. In limbo continues to be a cant phrase, in the same sense, at this day.
Malone. The Limbus Patrum is, properly, the place where the old Fathers and Patriarchs are supposed to be waiting for the resurrection. See note on Titus Andronicus, Act III, sc. i. Reed. - running banquet of two beadles,] A publick whipping.
Fohnson. VOL. XI.
And here ye lie baiting of bumbards, 2 when
Port. Make way there for the princess.
Man. You great fellow, stand close up, or I'll make your head ake.
Port. You i' the camblet, get up o' the rail ;2 I 'll pick you o'er the pales else.3
The Palace. Enter Trumpets, sounding; then two Aldermen, Lord
Mayor, Garter, CRANMER, Duke of NORFOLK, with his Marshal's Staff, Duke of SUFFOLK, two Noblemen bearing great standing-bowls 5 for the christening gifts; then four Noblemen bearing a canopy, under which the Duchess of NORFOLK, godmother, bearing the child richly habited in a mantle, &c. Train borne by a Lady: then follows the Marchioness of DORSET, the other godmother, and Ladies. The Troop pass once about the stage, and Garter speaks. Gart. Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send pros
- here ye lie baiting of bumbards,] A bumbard is an ale. barrel; to bait bumbards is to tipple, to lie at the spigot. Johnson.
So, in Woman's a Weathercock, 1612: “ She looks like a black bombard with a pint pot waiting upon it.” See The Tempest, Vol. II, p.
66, n. 8. Steevens. get up o' the rail;] We must rather read-get up of the rail,—or,-get off the rail. M. Mason.
I'll pick you o'er the pales else.] To pick is to pitch. “To pick a dart,” Cole renders, jaculor. Dict. 1679. See a note on Coriolanus, Act I, sc. i, where the word is, as I conceive, rightly spelt. Here the spelling in the old copy is peck. Malone.
To pick and to pitch were anciently synonymous. So, in Stubbes's Anatomy of Abuses, 1595, p. 138: “. to catch him on the hip, and to picke him on his recke.” Steevens.
4 The Palace.) At Greenwich, where, as we learn from Hall, fo. 217, this procession was made from the church of the Friars.
Reed. standing-bowls --] i.e. bowls elevated on feet or pedestals.
perous life, long, and ever happy, to the high and mighty princess of England, Elizabeth!
Flourish. Enter King, and Train.
Thank you, good lord archbishop; 6
Elizabeth. K. Hen.
Stand up, lord.
[The King kisses the Child. With this kiss take my blessing: God protect thee! Into whose hands I give thy life. Cran.
Amen. K. Hen. My noble gossips, ye have been too prodigal: I thank ye heartily; so shall this lady, When she has so much English. Cran.
Let me speak, sír, For Heaven now bids me; and the words I utter Let none think flattery, for they'll find them truth. This royal infant, (heaven still move about her!) Though in her cradle, yet now promises Upon this land a thousand thousand blessings, Which time shall bring to ripeness: She shall be (But few now living can behold that goodness) A pattern to all princes living with her, And all that shall succeed: Sheba was never More covetous of wisdom, and fair virtue, Than this pure soul shall be: all princely graces, That mould up such a mighty piece as this is, With all the virtues that attend the good, Shall still be doubled on her: truth shall nurse her, Holy and heavenly thoughts still counsel her: She shall be lov’d, and fear’d: Her own shall bless her: Her foes shake like a field of beaten corn,
6 Thank you, good lord archbishop;] I suppose the word archbishop should be omitted, as it only serves to spoil the measure. Be it remembered also that archbishop, throughout this play, is accented on the first syllable. Steedens.