Page images

may be, he has paid you more; which will shame you to give him again.

Clo. Is there no manners left among maids ? will they wear their plackets, where they should bear their faces ? Is there not milking-time, when you are going to bed, or kiln-hole 35, to whistle off these secrets: but you must be tittle-tattling before all our guests? 'Tis well, they are whispering: Clamour your tongues 36, and not a word more.

Mop. I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry lace37, and a pair of sweet gloves38.

Clo. Have I not told thee, how I was cozened by the way, and lost all my money?

Aut. And, indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad: therefore it behoves men to be wary.

Clo. Fear not thou, man, thou shalt lose nothing here.

35 The kiln-hole generally means the fireplace for drying malt; still a noted gossiping place.

36 An expression taken from hell-ringing; now contracted to clam. The bells are said to be clammed, when, after a course of rounds or changes, they are all pulled off at once, and give a general clash or clam, by which the peal is concluded. As this clam is succeeded by a silence, it exactly suits the sense of the passage. -NARES, Mr. Gifford thinks with Malone that it is a

int for charm. 37 A tawdry lace was a sort of necklace worn by country

eg; so named after St. Audrey (Ethelreda) who is said to have died of a swelling in her throat, which she considered as a particular judgment, for having been in her youth much addicted to wearing fine necklaces; or it probably implies that they were bought at the fair of St. Audrey, where gay toys of all sorts were sold. This fair was held in the Isle of Ely on the Saint's day, the 17th of October; Harpsfield, who tells the story of the saint, describes the necklace :-Solent Angliae nostrae mulieres torquein quendam, extenui et subtili sericà confectum, collo gestare quam Ethelredae torquem appellamus (tawdry lace) forsan in ejus quod diximus memoriam.' -Hist. Eccl. Angl. p. 66. So in The Faithful Shepherdess :

"The primrose chaplet, tawdry lace, and ring.' Spenser in his Shepherd's Kalendar mention's it as an ornament for the waist :

"And gird your waste

For more fineness, with a tawdrie lace.' Tawdries is used sometimes for necklaces in general.

38 Sweet, or perfumed gloves, are often mentioned by Shakspeare, they were very much esteemed, and a frequent present IR the poet's time.

Aut. I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.

Clo. What hast here? ballads ? Mop. 'Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print, a’-life; for then we are sure they are true.

Aut. Here's one to a very doleful tune, How a usurer's wife was brought to bed of twenty moneybags at a burden; and how she longed to eat adders' heads, and toads carbonadoed. Mop. Is it true, think you? Aut. Very true; and but a month old. Dor. Bless me from marrying a usurer! Aut. Here's the midwife's name to’t, one mistress Taleporter; and five or six honest wives' that were present: Why should I carry lies abroad? Mop. 'Pray you now, buy it.

Clo. Come on, lay it by: And let's first see more ballads; we'll buy the other things anon.

Aut. Here's another ballad, of a fish, that appeared upon the coast, on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom above water, and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids: it was thought, she was a woman, and was turned into a cold fish, for she would not exchange flesh with one that loved her: The ballad is very pitiful, and as true39. Dor. Is it true, think you?

Aut. Five justices' hands at it; and witnesses, more than my pack will hold.

Clo. Lay it by too: Another.
Aut. This is a merry ballad; but a very pretty one.
Mop. Let's have some merry ones.

Aut. Why, this is a passing merry one; and goes to the tune of, Two maids wooing a man: there's scarce a maid westward, but she sings it; 'tis in request, I can tell you.

39 All extraordinary events were then turned into ballads. In 1604 was entered on the Stationers' books—A strange report of a monstrous fish that appeared in the form of a woman from her waist upward.' To this it is highly probable that Shakspeare alludes.

Mop. We can both sing it; if thou'lt bear a part, thou shalt hear; 'tis in three parts.

Dor. We had the tune on't a month ago.

Aut. I can bear my part; you must know, 'tis my occupation: have at it with you.

A. Get you hence, for I must go;
Where, it fits not you to know.

D. Whither? M. O, whither? D. Whither?
M. It becomes thy oath full well,
Thou to me thy secrets tell:

D. Me too, let me go thither.

M. Or thou go'st to the grange, or mill:
D. If to either, thou dost ill.

A. Neither. D. What, neither? A. Neither.
D. Thou hast sworn my love to be:
M. Thou hast sworn it more to me :

Then, whither go'st? say, whither?

Clo. We'll have this song out anon by ourselves : My father and the gentlemen are in sad 40 talk, and we'll not trouble them: Come, bring away thy pack after me. Wenches, I'll buy for you both: Pedler, let's have the first choice. Follow me,


Aut. And you shall pay well for 'em.


Will you buy any tape,

Or lace for your cape,
My dainty duck, my dear-a?

Any silk, any thread,

Any toys for your head,
Of the new'st, and finst, fin'st ware-a?

40 i. e. serious.

Come to the pedler;
Money's a medler,
That doth utter41 all mens' ware-a.

[Ereunt Clown, Aut. DORC. and MopsA.

Enter a Servant. Serv. Master, there is three carters, three shepherds, three neat-herds, three swine-herds, that have made themselves all men of hair42; they call themselves saltiers43 : and they have a dance which the wenches say is a gallimaufry of gambols, because they are not in't; but they themselves are o' the mind, (if it be not too rough for some, that know little but bowling), it will please plentifully.

Shep. Away! we'll none on't; here has been too much homely foolery already:-I know, sir, we weary you.

Pol. You weary those that refresh us: Pray, let's see these four threes of herdsmen.

Serv. One three of them, by their own report, sir, hath danced before the king; and not the worst of the three, but jumps twelve foot and a half by the squire44.

Shep. Leave your prating; since these good men are pleased, let them come in; but quickly now. Serv. Why, they stay at door, sir. [Exit.

41 A sale or utterance of ware. Exactus.'-Baret.

42 It is most probable that they were dressed in goat-sking. A dance of satyrs was no unusual entertainment in Shakspeare's time, or even at an earlier period. A very curious relation of a disguising or mummery of this kind, which had like to have proved fatal to some of the actors in it, is related by Froissart as occurring in the court of France in 1392. The reader may also consult Melvil's Memoirs, p. 152, ed. 1725, or the late edition of Shakspeare, by Mr. Boswell, vol. xiv. p. 371. Mr. Douce has given a song for four voices from Ravenscroft's collection, called The Satyres Daunce. 'Antimasques,' says Lord Bacon, are usually composed of satyrs, baboons, antiques, beasts, &c.'-Essay 37.

43 Satyrs.
44 Foot rule, esquierre, Fr.

Re-enter Servant, with twelve Rustics habited like

Satyrs. They dance, and then exeunt. Pol. O, father, you'll know more of that here

after45,Is it not too far gone?—'Tis time to part them.He's simple, and tells much. [Aside.] --How now,

fair shepherd ? Your heart is full of something, that does take Your mind from feasting. Sooth, when I was young, And handed love, as you do, I was wont To load my she with knacks: I would have ransack'd The pedler's silken treasury, and have pour'd it To her acceptance; you have let him go, And nothing marted 46 with him: if your lass Interpretation should abuse, and call this Your lack of love, or bounty: you were straited 47 For a reply, at least, if you make a care Of happy holding her. Flo.

Old sir, I know She prizes not such trifles as these are: The gifts, she looks from me, are pack'd and lock'd Up in my heart; which I have given already, But not deliver'd.-0, hear me breathe my life Before this ancient sir, who, it should seem, Hath sometime lov’d: I take thy hand; this hand, As soft as dove's down, and as white as it; Or Ethiopian's tooth, or the fann'd snow, That's bolted 48 by the northern blasts twice o'er.

Pol. What follows this? How prettily the young swain seems to wash The hand, was fair before!-I have put you out:

45 This is an answer to something which the shepherd is supposed to have said to Polixenes during the dance.

46 Bought, trafficked.
47 Straitened, put to difficulties.

48 That is sifted. This is a beautiful image, which the poet has repeated with a little variation in A Midsummer Night's Dream :

“That pure congealed white, high Taurus' snow
Fann'd by the eastern wiuds, turns to a crow

When thou hold'st up thy band.'

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »