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thy duty; for my master and mistress are almost frozen to death.

CURT. There's' fire ready; And therefore, good Grumio, the news?

GRU. Why, Jack boy! ho boy!5 and as much news as thou wilt."

CURT. Come, you are so full of conycatching:

GRU. Why therefore, fire; for I have caught extreme cold. Where's the cook? is supper ready, the house trimmed, rushes strewed, cobwebs swept; the serving-men in their new fustian, their white stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on? Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without, the carpets laid,' and every thing in order?


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Jack boy! ho boy!] Is the beginning of an old round parts:



as thou wilt.] Old copy-wilt thou. editor of the second folio. MALONE.


their white stockings,] The old copy -Corrected by the editor of the third folio. MALONE.

Corrected by the

reads-the white.

Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without,] i, e. are the drinking vessels clean, and the maid servants dressed?

CURT. All ready; And therefore, I pray thee, news?1

GRU. First, know, my horse is tired; my master and mistress fallen out.


GRU. Out of their saddles into the dirt; And thereby hangs a tale.

CURT. Let's ha't, good Grumio.

GRU. Lend thine ear.

But the Oxford editor alters it thus:

Are the Jacks fair without, and the Jills fair within? What his conceit is in this, I confess I know not.


Sir T. Hanmer's meaning seems to be this: "Are the men who are waiting without the house to receive my master, dressed; and the maids, who are waiting within, dressed too?"

I believe the poet meant to play upon the words Jack and Jill, which signify two drinking measures, as well as men and maid servants. The distinction made in the questions concerning them, was owing to this: The Jacks being of leather, could not be made to appear beautiful on the outside, but were very apt to contract foulness within; whereas, the Jills, being of metal, were expected to be kept bright externally, and were not liable to dirt on the inside, like the leather.

The quibble on the former of these words I find in The Atheist's Tragedy, by C. Tourner, 1611:


- have you drunk yourselves mad? "1. Ser. My lord, the Jacks abus'd me.

“D'Am. I think they are Jacks indeed that have abus'd thee."

Again, in The Puritan, 1607: "I owe money to several hostesses, and you know such jills will quickly be upon a man's jack." In this last instance, the allusion to drinking measures is evident. STEEVENS.

9 the carpets laid,] In our author's time it was customary to cover tables with carpets. Floors, as appears from the present passage and others, were strewed with rushes. Malone. - I pray thee, news?] I believe the author wrote-I pray, thy news. MALONE.


CURT. Here.

GRU. There.

[Striking him. CURT. This is to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.


GRU. And therefore 'tis called, a sensible tale: and this cuff was but to knock at your ear, and beseech listening. Now I begin: Imprimis, we came down a foul hill, my master riding behind my mis


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CURT. Both on one horse?"

GRU. What's that to thee?

CURT. Why, a horse.

GRU. Tell thou the tale :But hadst thou not crossed me, thou should'st have heard how her horse fell, and she under her horse; thou should'st have heard, in how miry a place: how she was bemoiled;* how he left her with the horse upon her; how he beat me because her horse stumbled; howshewaded through the dirt to pluck him off me; how he swore; how she prayed-that never prayed before; how I cried; how the horses ran away; how her bridle was burst; how I lost my crupper ;-with many things of worthy memory; which now shall die in



This is Old copy-This 'tis Corrected by Mr. Pope.

on one horse?] The old copy reads-of one horse? STEEVENS.


bemoiled ;] i. e. be-draggled; bemired. STEEVENS. •how he swore; how she prayed-that never prayed before;] These lines, with little variation, are found in the old copy of King Leir, published before that of Shakspeare.



was burst ;] i. e. broken. So, in the first scene of this play: "You will not pay for the glasses you have burst?"


oblivion, and thou return unexperienced to thy grave.

CURT. By this reckoning, he is more shrew than .she."

GRU. Ay; and that, thou and the proudest of you all shall find, when he comes home. But what talk I of this?-call forth Nathaniel, Joseph, Ni cholas, Philip, Walter, Sugarsop, and the rest; let their heads be sleekly combed, their blue coats brushed, and their garters of an indifferent knit :"

7 he is more shrew than she.] The term shrew was anciently applicable to either sex. Thus, in the ancient metrical romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 66:

"Lest that lurdeynes come skulkynge oute

"For ever they have bene shrewes," &c. STEEevens.

- their blue coats brushed,] The dress of servants at the time. So, in Decker's Belman's Night Walkes, sig. E. 3: "the other act their parts in blew coates, as they were their serving men, though indeed they be all fellowes." Again, in The Curtain Drawer of the World, 1612, p. 2: "Not a serving man dare appeare in a blew coat, not because it is the livery of charity, but lest he should be thought a retainer to their enemy." REED.


·garters of an indifferent knit :] What is the sense of this, I know not, unless it means, that their garters should be fellows: indifferent, or not different, one from the other.


This is rightly explained. So, in Hamlet: "As the indifferent children of the earth." Again, in King Richard II:

"Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye." i. e. an impartial one.

In Donne's Paradoxes, p. 56, Dr. Farmer observes, that we find "one indifferent shoe;" meaning, I suppose, a shoe that would fit either the right or left foot.

So, in Reynolds's God's Revenge against Murder, B. V. Hist. 22: "Their sister Ceciliana (aged of some twenty years,) was of an indifferent height, but growing to corpulency and fatness." STEEVENS.

Perhaps by "garters of an indifferent knit," the author meant

let them curtsey with their left legs; and not presume to touch a hair of my master's horse-tail, till they kiss their hands. Are they all ready?

CURT. They are.

GRU. Call them forth.

CURT. Do you hear, ho? you must meet my master, to countenance my mistress.

GRU. Why, she hath a face of her own.

CURT. Who knows not that?

GRU. Thou, it seems; that callest for company to countenance her.

CURT. I call them forth to credit her.

GRU. Why, she comes to borrow nothing of them.

Enter several Servants.

NATH. Welcome home, Grumio.

PHIL. How now, Grumio?
Jos. What, Grumio!

NICH. Fellow Grumio!

NATH. How now, old lad?

GRU. Welcome, you;-how now, you; what, you ;-fellow, you;-and thus much for greeting.

parti-coloured garters; garters of a different knit. In Shakspeare's time indifferent was sometimes used for different. Thus Speed, (Hist. of Gr. Brit. p. 770,) describing the French and English armies at the battle of Agincourt, says, these boasts were diverse and indifferent."

66 -the face of

That garters of a different knit were formerly worn appears from TEXNOTAMIA, or the Marriage of the Arts, by Barton Holyday, 1630, where the following stage direction occurs: "Phantastes in a branched velvet jerkin, red silk stockings, and parti-coloured garters." MALone.

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