« PreviousContinue »
Dro. E. I am an ass indeed; you may prove it by my long ears. I have served him from the hour of my nativity to this instant, and have nothing at his hands for my service, but blows: when I am cold, he heats me with beating: when I am warm, he cools me with beating: I am waked with it, when I sleep; raised with it, when I sit; driven out of doors with it, when I go from honie; welcomed home with it, when I return: nay, I bear it on my shoulders, as a beggar wont her brat; and, I think, when he hath lamed me, I shall beg with it from door to door. Enter ADRIANA, LUCIANA, and the Courtezan, with
Pincho, and others. Ant. E. Come, go along; my wife is coming
yonder. Dro. E. Mistress, respice finem4, respect your end; or rather the prophecy, like the parrot, Beware the rope's end. Ant. E. Wilt thou still talk? (Beats him. Cour. How say you now? is not your husband
mad? Adr. His incivility confirms no less. Good doctor Pinch, you are a conjurer; Establish him in his true sense again, And I will please you what you will demand. Luc. Alas, how fiery and how sharp he looks!
2 Long from frequent pulling..
3 In the old copy—and a schoolmaster, called Pinch. As learning was necessary for an exorcist, the schoolmaster was often employed. Within a very few years, in country villages the pedagogue was still a reputed conjurer.
4 Buchanan wrote a pamphlet against the Lord of Liddington, which ends with these words : respice finem, respice funem. Shak. speare's quibble may be borrowed from this, The parrot's prophecy may be understood by means of the following lines in Hudibras :
"Could tell what subtlest parrots mean,
Cour. Mark, how he trembles in his ecstasy5! Pinch. Give me your hand, and let me feel your
pulse. Ant. E. There is my hand and let it feel your ear. Pinch. I charge thee, Satan, hous'd within this man, To yield possession to my holy prayers, And to thy state of darkness hie thee straight; I conjure thee by all the saints in heaven. Ant. E. Peace, doting wizard, peace; I am not
mad. Adr. O, that thou wert not, poor distressed soul! Ant. E. You minion, you, are these your cus
tomers6? Did this companiony with a saffron face Revel and feast it at my house to-day, Whilst upon me the guilty doors were shut, And I denied to enter in my house? Adr. O husband, God doth know, you din'd at
home, Where 'would, you had remain'd until this time, Free from these slanders, and this open shame! Ant. E. Din’d at home! Thou villain, what say'st
thou? Dro. E. Sir, sooth to say, you did not dine at
5 This tremor was anciently thought to be a sure indication of being possessed by the devil. Caliban, in the Tempest, says
Thou dost me yet but little hurt; thou wilt anon, I know it by thy trembling.
6 'A customer,' says Malone, 'is used in Othello for a common woman. Here it seems to signify one who visits such women.' It is surprising that a man like Malone, whose life had been devoted to the study and elucidation of Shakspeare, should so often seem ignorant of the language of the poet's time. A customer was a familiar, an intimate, a customary haunter of any place;' as any of the old dictionaries would have shown him under the word consuetudo or custom. It is true that in Othello, and in All's Well that Ends Well, Shakspeare has used the word to signify a common woman; i. e. one familiar with any man. This was a popular application of the word. In Udal's translation of Erasmus': Apophthegms, p. 55, we have it applied to a man as Shakspeare has done here :-'Aristippus was a customer of one Lais, a notable misliving woman.'
? Companion is a word of conteinpt, anciently used as we now use fellow.
Ant. E. Were not my doors lock'd up, and I
shut out? Dro. E. Perdys, your doors were lock’d, and you
shut out. Ant. E. And did not she herself revile me there? Dro. E. Sans fable, she herself revild you there. Ant. E. Did not her kitchen-maid rail, taunt, and
scorn me? Dro. E. Certes, she did; the kitchen-vestal scorn'd
you. Ant. E. And did not I in rage depart from thence? Dro. E. In verity you did ;—my bones bear wit
ness, That since have felt the vigour of his rage. Adr. Is't good to sooth him in these contraries? Pinch. It is no shame; the fellow finds his vein, And, yielding to him, humours well his frenzy. Ant. E. Thou hast suborn'd the goldsmith to
arrest me. Adr. Alas, I sent you money to redeem you, By Dromio here, who came in haste for it. Dro. E. Money by me? heart and good-will you
might, But, surely, master, not a rag of money. Ant. E. Went'st not thou to her for a purse of
ducats? Adr. He came to me, and I deliver'd it. Luc. And I am witness with her, that she did. Dro. E. God and the rope-maker, bear me witness, That I was sent for nothing but a rope!
Pinch. Mistress, both man and master is possess'd; I know it by their pale and deadly looks: They must be bound, and laid in some dark room. Ant. E. Say, wherefore didst thou lock me forth
to-day, And why dost thou deny the bag of gold ? Adr. I did not, gentle husband, lock thee forth. Dro. E. And, gentle master, I receiv'd no gold; But I confess, sir, that we were lock'd out. Adr. Dissembling villain, thou speak'st false in
8 A corruption of the common French oath par dieu.
both. Ant. E. Dissembling harlot, thou art false in all; And art confederate with a damned pack, To make a loathsome abject scorn of me: But with these nails I'll pluck out these false eyes, That would behold in me this shameful sport.
(Pinch and his Assistants bind Ant. and DRO. Adr. O, bind him, bind him, let him not come
near me Pinch. More company;-the fiend is strong within
him. Luc. Ah me, poor man, how pale and wan he
looks! Ant. E. What, will you murder me? Thou gaoler,
I am thy prisoner; wilt thou suffer them
Masters, let him go;
Adr. What wilt thou do, thou peevisho officer? Hast thou delight to see a wretched man Do outrage and displeasure to himself?
Off. He is my prisoner; if I let him go, The debt he owes, will be requir'd of me.
Adr. I will discharge thee, ere I go from thee:
Ant. E. O most unhappylo strumpet!
Home to mer doctor, see him tous, I will pay it.
9 Vide before, p. 160, note 6. 10 Unhappy for unlucky, i. e. mischievous.
Dro. E. Will you be bound for nothing? be mad, Good master; cry, the devil.
Luc. God help, poor souls, how idly do they talk!
Say, how grows it due? Off. Due for a chain, your husband had of him. Adr. He did bespeak a chain for me, but had it not.
Cour. When as your husband, all in rage, to-day Came to my house, and took away my ring (The ring I saw upon his finger now), Straight after, did I meet him with a chain.
Adr. It may be so, but I did never see it: Come, gaoler, bring me where the goldsmith is, I long to know the truth hereof at large. Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse, with his rapier
drawn, and DROMIO of Syracuse. Luc. God, for thy mercy! they are loose again. Adr. And come with naked swords; let's call
more help, To have them bound again. Off.
Away, they'll kill us.
[Exeunt Officer, Adr. and Luc. Ant. $. I see, these witches are afraid of swords. Dro. S. She, that would be your wife, now ran
from you. Ant. S. Come to the Centaur; fetch our staff11
from thence: I long, that we were safe and sound aboard.
11 i e. baggage. Stuff is the genuine old English word for all moveables. Baggage," says Baret, “is borrowed of the French, and signifyeth all such stuffe as may hinder or trouble us in warré