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sentence seems perplexed and inconsequent, perhaps it were better read thus, What they swear as lovers they - may be said to feign as poets.
JOHNSON. 476. A material fool!] A fool with matter in him; a fool stocked with notions.
JOHNSON. See Material before, in catch-word Alphabet. 481. I am foul.] By foul is meant coy or frowning.
HANMER. I rather believe foul to be put for the rustick pronunciation of full. Audrey, supposing the Clown to have spoken of her as a full slut, says, naturally enough, I am not a slut, though, I thank the gods, I am foul, i.e. full. She was more likely to thank the gods for a belly-full, than for her being coy or frowning.
TYRWHITT. In confirmation of Mr. Tyrwhitt's conjecture, it miay be observed, that in the song at the end of Love's Labour Lost, instead of “ where ways be foul,"'. have in the first quarto of 1598—“where ways be full.” In that and other old English books many words seem to have been spelt by the ear. MALONE.
Audrey says, she is not fair (i. e. handsome), and therefore prays the gods to make her honest. The Clown tells her that to cast honesty away 'upon a foul slut (i. e. an ill-favoured dirty creature), is to put meat in an unclean dish. She replies, she is no slut (no dirty drab) though in her great simplicity, she thanks the gods for her foulness (homelyness) i. e. for being as she is. Well, adds he, praised be the gods for thy foulness, sluttishness may come hereafter. REMARKS.
494. -what though x] What then, JOHNSON.
507. Sir Oliver] He that has taken his first degree at the university, is in the academical style called Dominus, and in common language was heretofore termed Sir. This was not always a word of contempt; the graduates assumed it in their own writings; so Trevisa the historian writes himself Syr John de Trevisa.
JOHNSON. We find the same title bestowed on many divines in our old comedies. So, in Wily Beguiled:
Sir John cannot tend to it at evening prayer; for there comes a company of players to town on Sunday in the afternoon, and Sir John is so good a fellow, that I know he'll scarce leave their company to say evening prayer.”
Again : “ We'll all go to church together, and so save Sir John a labour." See Notes on The Merry Wives of Windsor, act i. scene 1.
STEEVENS. Degrees were at this time considered as the highest dignities; and it may not be improper to observe, that a clergyman, who hath not been educated at the universities, is still distinguished in some parts of North-Wales, by the appellation of Sir John, Sir William, &c. Hence the Sir Hugh Evans of Shakspere is not a Welsh knight who hath taken orders, but only a Welsh clergy man without any regular degree from either of the universities. Sec Barrington's History of the Guedir Family.
NICHOLS. 517. -God'ild you] i. e. God yield you, God
reward you. See Notes on Macbeth, act i. scene 6. and catch-word Alphabet.
STEEVENS. 522. -his bow,] i. e. his yoke. STEEVENS,
542. Not_0 sweet Oliver, O brave, &c.] The Clown dismisses Sir Oliver only because Jaques had alarmed his pride and raised his doubts, concerning the validity of a marriage solemnized by one who appears only in the character of an itinerant preacher. He intends afterwards to have recourse to some other of
more dignity in the same profession. The latter part · of the Clown's speech is only a repetition from some other ballad, or perhaps a different part of the same.
STEEvens, Mr. Steevens's explanation is fully supported by the subsequent dialogue, between the Clown and Audrey, act v. scene 1.
Clo. We shall find a time, Audrey ; patience, gentle Audrey.
Aud. 'Faith, the priest was good enough, for all the old gentleman's saying.
MALONE. O sweet Oliver. The epithet of sweet seems to have been peculiarly appropriated to Oliver, for which, perhaps, he was originally obliged to the old song before us. No more of it, however, than these two lines has as yet been produced. See Ben Jonson's Underwood:
« All the mad Rolands and sweet Olives." And, in Every Man in his Humour, p. 88. is the same allusion : “ Do not stink, sweet Oliver.” TYRWHITT. E
In the books of the Stationers-Company, Aug. 6, 1584, was entered by Richard Jones the ballad of,
“O sweete Olyver
« Leave me not behinde thee." Again, “ The answere of 0 sweete Olyver." Again, in 1586: “O sweet Oliver altered to the Scriptures.”
STEEVENS. 545. Wind away] Wind away and wind off are still used provincially: and I believe nothing but the provincial pronunciation is wanting to join the parts together. I read :
« Not_0 sweet Oliver!
“ O brave Oliver!
« But-wind away,
“ Begone, I say,
FARMER. Wind is used for wend in Cæsar and Pompey, 1607: - Winde we then, Anthony, with this royal queen."
STEVENS. 557. Something browner than Judas's :-) See notes on The Merry Wives of Windsor, act i, scene 4.
See Fudas, catch-word Alphabet. Steevens.
559. l'faith, his hair is of a good colour.] There is much of nature in this petty perverseness of Rosalind; she finds fault in her lover, in hope to be contradieted, and when Celia in sportive malice too readily seconds her accusations, she contradicts herself rather than suffer hier füvourite to want a vindication.
565. a nun of winter's sisterhood] This is finely expressed. Shakspere here means an unfruitful sisterhood, which had devoted itself to chastity. For as those who were of the sisterhood of the spring, were the votaries of Venus; those of summer, the yotaries of Ceres; those of autumn, of Pomona ; so these of the sisterhood of winter were the votaries of Diana ; called, of winter, because that quarter is not, like the other three, productive of fruit or increase. On this account it is, that when the poet speaks of what is most poor, he instances it in winter, in these fine lines of Othello,
“ But riches endless is as poor as winter
“ To him that ever fears he shall be poor.” The other property of winter that made him term them of its sisterhood is its coldness. So, in the Midummer Night's Dream :
“ To be a barren sister all your life,
WARBURTON. 573. -as concave as a cover'd goblet.] Why a cover'd? Because a goblet is never kept cover'd but when empty. Shakspere never throws out his expressions at random.
WARBURTON. 583. -much question] 'i. e. conversation. See Question, catch-word Alphabet.
STEEVENS. 590. -quite traverse, athwart, &c.] An unexperienced lover is here compared to a puny tilter, to whom it was a disgrace to have his lance broken across, as it was a mark either of want of courage or address. Eij