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CHARACTERS IN THE INDUCTION
To the Original Play of The Taming of a Shrew, entered on the Stationers' books in 1594, and printed in quarto in 1607.
A Lord, &c.
Alphonsus, a Merchant of Athens.
Suitors to the Daughters of
Valeria, Servant to Aurelius.
Sander, Servant to Ferando.
Phylotus, a Merchant who personates the Duke.
Daughters to Alphonsus.
Tailor, Haberdasher, and Servants to Ferando and Alphonsus.
SCENE, Athens; and sometimes Ferando's Country House.
Before an Alehouse on a Heath.
Enter Hostess and SLY.
SLY. I'll pheese you,' in faith.
'I'll pheese you,] To pheese or fease, is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harrass, to plague. Perhaps I'll pheeze you, may be equivalent to I'll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character on like occasions. The following explanation of the word is given by Sir Thomas Smith, in his book de Sermone Anglico, printed by Robert Stephens, 4to: "To feize, means in fila diducere."
Shakspeare repeats his use of the word in Troilus and Cressida, where Ajax says he will pheese the pride of Achilles: and Lovewit in The Alchemist employs it in the same sense. Again, in Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie, 1589:
"Your pride serves you to feaze them all alone." Again, in Stanyhurst's version of the first Book of Virgil's Eneid:
SLY. Y'are a baggage; the Slies are no rogues:2 Look in the chronicles, we came in with Richard Conqueror. Therefore, paucas pallabris;3 let the world slide:* Sessa!
"We are touz'd, and from Italye fear'd."
"Feaze away the droane bees," &c. STEEVENS.
To pheeze a man, is to beat him; to give him a pheeze, is, to give him a knock. In The Chances, Antonio says of Don John, "I felt him in my small guts; I am sure he has feaz'd me.” M. MASON.
To touze or toaze had the same signification. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: "Arruffare. To touze, to tug, to bang, or rib-baste one. MALONE.
no rogues:] That is, vagrants, no mean fellows, but gentlemen. JOHNSON.
One William Sly was a performer in the plays of Shakspeare, as appears from the list of comedians prefixed to the folio, 1623. This Sly is likewise mentioned in Heywood's Actor's Vindication, and the Induction to Marston's Malcontent. He was also among those to whom James I. granted a licence to act at the Globe theatre in 1603. STEEVENS.
paucas pallabris;] Sly, as an ignorant fellow, is purposely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas palabras, i. e. few words: as they do likewise, Cessa, i. e. be quiet.
This is a burlesque on Hieronymo, which Theobald speaks of in a following note: "What new device have they devised now? Pocas pallabras." In the comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611, a cut-purse makes use of the same words. Again, they appear in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638, and in some others, but are always appropriated to the lowest characters. STEEVENS.
let the world slide:] This expression is proverbial. It is used in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit without Money: will you go drink "And let the world slide, uncle?"
It occurs, however, or somewhat very much resembling it, in the ancient Morality entitled The iiii Elements:
HOST. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst? 5
SLY. No, not a denier : Go by, says Jeronimy;Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.
let us be mery,
"With huff a galand, synge tyrll on the bery,
-you have burst?] To burst and to break were anciently synonymous. Falstaff says, that "John of Gaunt burst Shallow's head for crouding in among the marshal's men."
Again, in Soliman and Perseda:
"God save you, sir, you have burst your shin." Again, in Dr. Philemon Holland's translation of Plutarch's Apophthegms, edit. 1603, p. 405. To brast and to burst have the same meaning. So, in All for Money, a tragedy by T. Lupton, 1574:
"If you forsake our father, for sorrow he will brast.” In the same piece, burst is used when it suited the rhyme. Again, in the old morality of Every Man:
"Though thou weep till thy heart to-brast."
STEEVENS. Burst is still used for broke in the North of England. See Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, edit. 1780, Vol. XII. p. 375. REED.
Go by, says Jeronimy -Go to thy cold bed, and warm thee.] The old copy reads-go by S Jeronimie-. STEEVENS.
All the editions have coined a Saint here, for Sly to swear by. But the poet had no such intentions. The passage has particular humour in it, and must have been very pleasing at that time of day. But I must clear up a piece of stage history to make it understood. There is a fustian old play called Hieronymo; or The Spanish Tragedy: which I find was the common butt of raillery to all the poets in Shakspeare's time: and a passage, that appeared very ridiculous in that play, is here humorously alluded to. Hieronymo, thinking himself injured, applies to the king for justice; but the courtiers, who did not desire his wrongs should be set in a true light, attempt to hinder him from an audience:
"Hiero. Justice! O! justice to Hieronymo.