Графични страници
PDF файл

a subject for very nice distinctions either of

“ Sweet lady, entertain him time or place.

To be my fellow-servant to your ladyship;" and Silvia, consenting, says to Proteus,

“Servant, you are welcome to a worthless mistress.”

Now, when Silvia says this, which, according to the meaning which has been attached to the words servant and mistress, would be a speech of endearment, she had accepted Valentine really as her betrothed lover, and she had been told by Valentine that Proteus

“ Had come along with me, but that his mistress

Did hold his eyes lock'd in her crystal looks." It appears, therefore, that we must sometimes receive these words in a very vague sense, and regard them as titles of courtesy, derived, perhaps, from the chivalric times, when many a harness'd knight and sportive troubadour de

scribed the lady whom they had gazed upon in 1 SCENE I.—He, being in love, could not see to the tilt-yard as their “mistress," and the same garter his hose."

lady looked upon each of the gallant train as a Shakspere is here speaking of the garters of “servant” dedicated to the defence of her ho. his own time, but at the period to which we nour, or the praise of her beauty. have confined the costume of this play, garters of great magnificence appeared round the large

SCENE II.—“Why, then, we 'U make exchange." slashed hose, both above and below the knee. The priest in "Twelfth Night' (Act V. Sc. 1,) To go ungartered was the common trick of a describes the ceremonial of betrothing:fantastic lover, who thereby implied he was too

“ A contract of eternal bond of love, much occupied by his passion to pay attention

Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands,

Attested by the holy close of lips, to his dress.

Strengthen'd by interchangement of your rings.” 13 SCENE I.—“Sir Valentine and servant."

This contract was made, in private, by Proteus Sir J. Hawkins says,

and Julia; and it was also made by Valentine “ Here Silvia calls her

and Silvia—“ We are betroth'd." lover servant, and again her gentle servant. This was the common language of ladies to their lovers IS SCENE III.-" This left shoe." at the time when Shakspere wrote.” Steevens

A passage in King John also shows that each gives several examples of this. Henry James foot was formerly fitted with its shoe, a fashion Pye, in his Comments on the Commentators,' of unquestionable utility, which has been rementions that, “ In the 'Noble Gentlemen' of vived in recent times :Beaumont and Fletcher, the lady's gallant has

“ Standing on slippers, which his nimble haste no other name in the dramatis personæ than Had falsely thrust upon contrary feet." servant,” and that “mistress and servant are always used for lovers in Dryden's plays.” It

1 SCENE IV.—“My jerkin is a doublet.is clear to us, however correct may be the inter- The jerkin, or jacket, was generally worn over pretation of servant and mistress (see 'Studies,' | the doublet; but occasionally the doublet was p. 464), that Shakspere here uses the words in worn alone, and, in many instances, is cona much

ore general sense than that which ex- founded with the jerkin. Either had sleeves or presses the relations between two lovers. At not, as the wearer fancied; for by the inven. the very moment that Valentine calls Silvia tories and wardrobe accounts of the time, we mistress, he says that he has written for her a find that the sleeves were frequently separate letter," some lines to one she loves,”—unto a articles of dress, and attached to the doublet, "secret nameless friend ;” and what is still jerkin, coat, or even woman's gown, by laces or stronger evidence that the word "servant” had ribbons, at the pleasure of the wearer. A not the full meaning of lover , but meant a “ doblet jaquet” and hose of blue velvet

, cut much more general admirer, Valentine, intro- upon cloth of gold, embroidered, and a “doubducing Proteus to Silvia, says,

let hose and jaquet" of purple velvet, embroi.


dered, and cut upon cloth of gold, and lined sometimes of slate. The Archbishop of York, with black satin, are entries in an inventory of in 'Henry IV.,' says: the wardrobe of Henry VIII.

“And, therefore, will he wipe his tables clean." In 1535, a jerkin of purple velvet, with pur- The table-book of slate is engraved and deple satin sleeves, embroidered all over with scribed in Gesner's treatise, De Rerum Fossilium Venice gold, was presented to the king by Sir Figuris, 1565; and it has been copied in Douce's Richard Cromwell; and another jerkin of crim- Illustrations. son velvet, with wide sleeves of the same coloured satin, is mentioned in the same inven

18 SCENE VII.—A true devoted pilgrim.” tory.

The comparison which Julia makes between

the ardour of her passion, and the enthusiasm 17 SCENE VII.

of the pilgrim, is exceedingly beautiful. When « The table wherein all my thoughts travelling was a business of considerable danger Are visibly character'd."

and personal suffering, the pilgrim who was not The allusion is to the table-book, or tables, weary which were used, as at present, for noting down

" To measure kingdoms with his feeble steps," to encounter the perils of a journey to Rome, or Loretto, or Compostella, or Jerusalem, was a person to be looked upon as thoroughly in earnest. In the time of Shakspere the pilgrimages to the tomb of St. Thomas à Becket, at Canterbury, which Chaucer has rendered immortal, were discontinued; and few, perhaps, undertook the sea voyage to Jerusalem. But the pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James, or St. Jago, the patron-saint of Spain, at Compostella, was undertaken by all classes of Catholics. The

house of our Lady at Loretto was, however, the something to be remembered. Hamlet says: great object of the devotee's vows; and, at par“My tables,-meet it is I set it down.”

ticular seasons, there were not fewer than two They were made sometimes of ivory, and I hundred thousand pilgrims visiting it at once.



is somewhat doubtful. Aim is supposed to be 19 SCENE I.—"My jealous aim might err.

derived from æstimare, to weigh attentively; " My discovery be not aimed at.

guess, from the Anglo-Saxon wiss-an, wis, to STEEVENS explains the noun aim as meaning think (see Richardson's Dictionary). Here the guess. But aim also signifies purpose, inten- separate meanings of the two words almost slide tion. The Duke feared that his "jealous aim,” into one and the same. It is certain that in -his purpose—to forbid Valentine his court the original and literal use of the word aim, in might "disgrace the man.”—Aimed at is also archery, was meant the act of the mind in constated, both by Steevens and Johnson, to mean sidering the various circumstances connected to guess. The common interpretation of aim — with the flight of the arrow, rather than the to point at, to level at, -will, however, give the mere operation of the sense in pointing at the meaning of the passage quite as well. At first mark. When Locksley, in 'Ivanhoe,' tells his sight it might appear that the word aim, which, adversary, “ You have not allowed for the wind, literally or metaphorically, is ordinarily taken Hubert, or that would have been a better shot,” to mean the act of looking towards a definite he furnishes Hubert with a new element of calobject with a precise intention, cannot include culation for his next aim. There is a passage the random determination of the mind which of Bishop Jewell: “He that seeth no mark must we imply by the word guess. But we must go shoot by aim." This certainly does not mean a little further. The etymology of both words I must shoot at random-although it may mean

must shoot by guess,-must shoot by calculation. statutes generally recognise the right of poor To give aim, in archery, was the business of one scholars to beg; but they were also liable to the who stood within view of the butts, to call out penalties of the gaol and the stocks, unless they how near the arrows fell to the mark, — as could produce letters testimonial from the chan. "Wide on the bow band ;-wide on the shaft- cellor of their respective universities. It is not hand ;-short;—gone." To give aim was, there- unlikely that in the journeys of these hundreds fore, to give the knowledge of a fact, by which of poor scholars they should have occasionally the intention, the aim, of the archer might be “taken a purse” as well as begged "an almesse,” better regulated in future. In the fifth Act (4th and that some of “St. Nicholas's clerks” should scene) of this comedy, the passage

have become as celebrated for the same ac“Behold her, that gave aim to all thy oaths,” complishments which distinguished Bardolph has reference to the aim-giver of the butts. and Peto at Gadshill, as for the learned poverty

which entitled them to travel with a chancellor's 20 SCENE 1.—“Even in the milk-white bosom

licence. of thy love." The lady of the sixteenth century had a small 22 SCENE I.—The cover of the salt hides the pocket in the front of her stays, in which she

salt." carried her letters, and other matters which she

The large salt-cellar of the dinner-table was a valued. In the verses which Valentine has ad- massive piece of plate, with a cover equally subdressed to Silvia, he says,

stantial. There was only one salt-cellar on the "My herald thoughts in thy pure bosom rest them."

board, which was placed near the top of the In ‘Hamlet' we have the same allusion :

table; and the distinction of those who sat “In her excellent white bosom, these."

above and below the salt was universally recogA passage in Lord Surrey's Sonnets conveys the nised. The following representation of a salt same idea, which occurs also in Chaucer's Mer- cellar, a, with its cover, b, presented to Queen chant's Tale :

Elizabeth, is from ‘Nichols's Progresses.' This purse hath she in her bosom hid.” 21 SCENE I.—“St. Nicholas be thy speed." When Speed is about to read Launce's paper,

6 Launce, who has previously said, “Thou canst not read,” invokes St. Nicholas to assist him. Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of scholars. There is a story in Douce how the saint attained this distinction, by discovering that a wicked host had murdered three scholars on their way to school, and by his prayers restored their souls to their bodies. This legend is told in The Life of St. Nicholas,' composed in French verse by Maitre Wace, chaplain to Henry II., and which remains in manuscript. By the Statutes of St. Paul's School, the scholars are required to attend divine service at the cathedral on the anniversary of this saint. The parish clerks of London were incorporated into a guild, with St.

23 SCENE II. Nicholas for their patron. These

orthy per

Therefore, as you unvind her love from him, sons were, probably, at the period of their in- Lest it should ravel, and be good to none, corporation, more worthy of the name of clerks You must provide to bottom it on me.” (scholars) than we have been wont in modern This image, derived from the labours of the times to consider. But why are thieves called sempstress, had found its way into English St. Nicholas' clerks in ‘Henry IV.?? Warbur- poetry before the time of Shakspere :ton says, by a quibble between Nicholas and old

“A bottom for your silk, it seems Nick. This we doubt. Scholars appear, from

My letters are become, the ancient statutes against vagrancy, to have

Which, oft with winding off and on,

Are wasted whole and some." been great travellers about the country. These

Grange's Garden, 1557.



24 SCENE I.-"Robin Hood's fat friar.” before Shakspere's time -'A Woman never The jolly Friar Tuck of the old Robin Hood | Vexed,' says

"I have carried ballads—the almost equally famous Friar Tuck

The tallies at my girdle seven years together, of 'Ivanhoe'—is the personage whom the out- For I did ever love to deal honestly in the nick." laws here invoke. It is unnecessary for us to These primitive day-books and ledgers were enter upon the legends

equally adapted to an alehouse score and a na“Of Tuck, the merry friar, which many a sermon made, tion's revenue; for, as our readers know, they

In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and his trade," continued to be used in the English Exchequer as Drayton has it. It may be sufficient to give till within a recent period. a representation of his “bare scalp.” The fol. lowing illustration is copied, with a little im

36 SCENE II.—" At St. Gregory's well." provement in the drawing, from the Friar in Mr. This is, as far as we know, the only instance Tollett's painted window, representing the cele in which holy wells are mentioned by Shakspere. bration of May-day.

The popular belief in the virtues of these sainted wells must have been familiar to him. Saint Gregory's well, the place where Proteus and Thurio were to meet, might have been found in some description of Italian and other cities, which Shakspere had read; for these wells were often contained within splendid buildings, raised by some devotee to protect the sacred fount from which, he believed, he had derived inestimable advantage. Such was the well of Saint Winifred at Holywell, in Flintshire. This remarkable fountain throws up eighty-four hogsheads every minute, which volume of water forms a considerable stream. The well is enclosed within a beautiful Gothic temple, erected by the mother of Henry VII. The following engraving represents this rich and elegant building.


Shakspere has two other allusions to Robin Hood. The old duke, in 'As You Like It,' “is already in the forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him, and there they live, like the old Robin Hood of England.” Master Silence, that “merry heart," that “man of mettle,” sings, “in the sweet of the night,” of

“ Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John."
The honourable conditions of Robin's lawless
rule over his followers were evidently in our
poet's mind when he makes Valentine say

“I take your offer, and will live with you;
Provided that you do no outrages
On silly women, or poor passengers."

25 SCENE II.—" He loved her out of all nick."

His love was beyond all reckoning. The nick was the notch upon the tally-stick, by which accounts were kept. An inn-keeper, in a play

77 SCENE IV.—"He steps me to her trencher." constructed their pillories. Douce has engraved That the daughter of a Duke of Milan should

no less than six specimens of these instruments eat her capon from a trencher may appear some

of punishment. The pillory that was in use what strange. It may be noted, however, that amongst us not a qnarter of a century ago, the fifth Earl of Northumberland, in 1512, was

appears to have differed very slightly from that ordinarily served on wooden trenchers, and that

of the time of Henry VIII. The following plates of pewter, mean as we may now think engraved illustration, which represents the in. them, were reserved in his family for great holi

Aiction of the punishment upon Robert Ockham, days. The 'Northumberland Household Book, in that reign, is copied, like the preceding edited by Bishop Percy, furnishes several entries illustration, from Fox's 'Martyrs.' which establish this. In the privy-purse expenses of Henry VIII. there are also entries regarding trenchers; as, for example, in 1530,“ Item, paied to the s'geant of the pantrye for certen trenchors for the king, xxiijs. iiijd."

28 SCENE IV._I have sat in the stocks."

[ocr errors]

Launce speaks familiarly of an object that was the terror of vagabonds in every English village, -the “Ancient Castle” of Hudibras,-the

" Dungeon scarce three inches wide;

With roof so low, that under it
They never stand, but lie or sit;
And yet so foul, that whoso is in,

Is to the middle leg in prison."
Civilisation bas banished the stocks, with many
other relics of a barbarous age. The following
representation, which is taken from Fox's 'Acts
and Monuments,' and there professes to depict
the straight handling of close prisoners in
Lollards' tower,” may contribute to preserve
the remembrance of this renowned “Fabric."

30 SCENE IV.-"Sun-expelling mask.” Stubbes, in his ' Anatomie of Abuses,' published in 1595, thus describes the masks of the ladies of Elizabeth's time : “When they use to ride abroad they have masks and visors made of velvet, wherewith they cover all their faces, having holes made in them against their eyes, whereout they look.”


31 SCENE IV.—“ Her hair is auburn, mine is

perfect yellovi." Capell says the colour of the hair marks this play as of the period of Elizabeth. The auburn, or yellow, of the queen's hair made that colour beautiful.

32 SCENE IV.—“ A colour'd periwig."

No word has puzzled etymologists more than 25 SCENE IV.-" I have stood on the pillory.

periwig. It has been referred to a Hebrew, The pillory is also abolished in all ordinary Greek, Latin, and northern origin, and, perhaps, cases, and perhaps public opinion will prevent with equal want of success. It is the same it being ever again used. Our ancestors were word as perwick, periwicke, and peruke. Whiter, ingenious in the varieties of form in which they l in his very curious · Etymological Dictionary,'

« ПредишнаНапред »