« PreviousContinue »
'Tis dinner-time, quoth I; My gold, quoth he:
home. Dro. E. Go back again, and be new beaten home? For God's sake, send some other messenger.
Adr. Back, slave, or I will break thy pate across. Dro. E. And he will bless that cross with other
Between you I shall have a holy head.
[Exit. Luc. Fie, how impatience loureth in your face!
Adr. His company must do his minions grace, Whilst I at home starve for a merry look11.
8 Home is not in the old copy : it was supplied to complete the verse by Capell 9 We have an equally unmetrical line in the first Act :
"Therefore, merchant, I'll limit thee this day.' 10 He plays upon the word round, which signifies spherical, as applied to himself; and unrestrained, or free in speech or action, as regards his mistress. The King in Hainlet desires the Queen to be round with her 800.
11 So in Shakspeare's Sonnets, the forty-seventh and seventyfifth :
"When that mine eye is famish'd for a look. Sometimes all full with feeding on his sight, And by and by clean starved for a look.'
Hath homely age the alluring beauty took
12 Defeat and defeature were used for disfigurement or alteration of features. Cotgrave has 'Un visage desfaict : Growne very leane, pale, wan, or decayed in feature and colour.'
It occurs again in the last act; and is also used by the poet in his Venus and Adonis :
"To mingle beauty with deformity,
And pure perfection with impure defeature.' The word is so expressive, that it is surprising that it has fallen into disuse. It is, I believe, peculiar to Shakspeare in this sense; though defeature is used for discomfiture, defeat, overthrow, by others.
13 Fair, strictly speaking, is not used here for fairness, as Steevens supposed; but for beauty. Shakspeare has often employed it in this sense, without any relation to whiteness of skin or complexion. The use of the substantive instead of the adjective, in this instance, is not peculiar to him ; but the common practice of his contemporaries. Marston, in one of his Satires, says :
As the greene meads, whose native ontward faire
Breathes sweet perfumes into the neighbour air.' 14 Though Shakspeare sometimes uses stale for a decoy or bait, I do not thin k that he meant it here; or that Adriana can mean to call herself his stalking horse. Probably she meang she is thrown aside, forgotten, cast off, become stale to him. The dictionaries, in voce Eroletus, countenance this explapation.
I see, the jewel, best enamelled,
[Ereunt. SCENE II. The same.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse. Ant. S. The gold, I gave to Dromio, is laid up Safe at the Centaur; and the heedful slave Is wander'd forth, in care to seek me ont. By computation, and mine host's report, I could not speak with Dromio, since at first I sent him from the mart: See, here he comes.
Enter Dromo of Syracuse. How now, sir? is your merry humour alter'd? As you love strokes, so jest with me again. You know no Centaur ? you receiv'd no gold ? Your mistress sent to have me home to dinner ? My house was at the Phoenix ? Wast thou mad, That thus so madly thou didst answer me? Dro. S. What answer, sir? when spake I such
a word ? Ant. S. Even now, even here, not half an hour since. Dro. S. I did not see you since you sent me hence, Ilome to the Centaur, with the gold you gave me.
Ant. S. Villain, thou didst deny the gold's receipt; And told'st me of a mistress, and a dinner; For which, I hope, thou felt'st I was displeas'd.
Dro. S. I am glad to see you in this merry vein: What means this jest? I pray you, master, tell me. Ant. S. Yea, dost thou jeer, and flout me in the
teeth? Think'st thou, I jest? Hold, take thou that, and that.
[Beating him. Dro. S. Hold, sir, for God's sake: now your jest
is earnest: Upon what bargain do you give it me?
Ant. S. Because that I familiarly sometimes Do use you for my fool, and chat with you, Your sauciness will jest upon my love, And make a common of my serious hours?. When the sun shines, let foolish gnats make sport, But creep in crannies, when he hides his beams. If you will jest with me, know my aspéct, And fashion your demeanour to my looks, Or I will beat this method in your sconce.
Dro. S. Sconce, call you it? so you would leave battering, I had rather have it a head: an you use these blows long, I must get a sconce for my head, and insconce3 it too; or else I shall seek my wit in my shoulders. But, I pray, sir, why am I beaten?
Ant. S. Dost thou not know? Dro. S. Nothing, sir; but that I am beaten. Ant. S. Shall I tell you why? Dro. S. Ay, sir, and wherefore; for, they say, every why hath a wherefore. Ant. S. Why, first,—for flouting me; and then,
wherefore, For urging it the second time to me. Dro. S. Was there ever any man thus beaten out
of season? When, in the why, and the wherefore, is neither
rhyme nor reason ?Well, sir, I thank you.
Ant. S. Thank me, sir? for what? Dro. S. Marry, sir, for this something that you gave me for nothing. Ant. S. I'll make you amends next, to give you
Ti e. intrude on them when you please. 2 Study my countenance.
3 A sconce was a fortification; to insconce was to hide, to protect as with a fort.
nothing for something. But say, sir, is it dinnertime? Dro. S. No, sir; I think, the meat wants that I
have. Ant. S. In good time, sir, what's that? Dro. S. Basting. Ant. S. Well, sir, then 'twill be dry. Dro. S. If it be, sir, I pray you eat none of it. Ant. S. Your reason ? Dro. S. Lest it make you choleric4, and purchase me another dry basting.
Ant. S. Well, sir, learn to jest in good time; There's a time for all things.
Dro. S. I durst have denied that, before you were 80 choleric.
Ant. S. By what rule, sir?
Dro. S. Marry, sir, by a rule as plain as the plain bald pate of father Time himself.
Ant. S. Let's hear it.
Dro. S. There's no time for a man to recover his hair, that grows bald by nature.
Ant. S, May he not do it by fine and recovery5? Dro. S. Yes, to pay a fine for a periwig, and recover the lost hair of another man.
Ant. S. Why is time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement ?
Dro. S. Because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts: and what he hath scanted men in hair, he hath given them in wit.
Ant. S. Why, but there's many a man hath more hair than wit7.
A So in The Taming of the Shrew:
'I tell thee, Kate, 'twas burnt and dried away,
For it engendere choler, planteth anger.' s This is another instance of Shakspeare's acquaintance with technial law terms.
6 The old copy reads them: the emendation is Theobald's.
? The following lines 'Upon [Suckling'o] Aglaura, printed in folio,' may serve to illustrate this proverbial sentence :