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LINE 2. Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits:] Milton has the same play on words:
"It is for homely features to keep home,
"They had their name thence." Line 8. shapeless idleness.] The expression is fine, as implying that idleness prevents the giving any form or character to the manners. WARBURTON.
Line 27. -nay, give me not the boots.] A proverbial expression, though now disused, signifying, don't make a laughing stock of me; don't play upon me. The French have a phrase, Bailler foin en corne; which Cotgrave thus interprets, To give one the boots; to sell him a bargain. THEOBALD,
Line 37. However, but a folly——] This love will end in a foolish action, to produce which you are long to spend your wit; or it will end in the loss of your wit, which will be overpowered by the folly of love, JOHNSON,
Line 61. At Milan, &c.] i. e. Let your letters be addressed to me at Milan.
Line 73, Made wit with musing weak,-] For made read make.
Thou, Julia, hast made me war with good counsel, and make wit weak with musing. JOHNSON.
Line 74. Enter Speed.] This whole scene, like many others in these plays (some of which I believe were written by Shakspeare, and others interpolated by the players) is composed of the lowest and most trifling conceits, to be accounted for only from the gross taste of the age he lived in; Populo ut placerent. POPE.
That this, like many other scenes, is mean and vulgar, will be universally allowed; but that it was interpolated by the players seems advanced without any proof, only to give a greater licence to criticism. JOHNSON.
Line 103. I, a lost mutton, gave your letter to her, a laced mutton;- -] Speed calls himself a lost mutton, because he had lost his master, and because Protheus had been proving him a sheep. But why does he call the lady a laced mutton? Wenchers are to this day called mutton-mongers; and consequently the object of their passion must, by the metaphor, be the mutton. And Cotgrave, in his English-French Dictionary, explains laced mutton, Une garse, putain, fille de joye. So that laced mutton has been a sort of standard phrase for girls of pleasure. THEOBALD.
Nash, in his Have with you to Saffron Walden, 1595, speaking of Gabriel Harvey's incontinence, says, he would not stick to extoll rotten laced mutton.
So in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578. "And I smelt he lov'd laced mutton well."
Again Heywood, in his Love's Mistress, 1636, speaking of Cupid, says, he is the " Hero of hie-hoes, admiral of ay-me's, and monsieur of mutton laced." STEEVENS.
Line 110. Nay, in that you are astray;- -] For the reason .Protheus gives, Dr. Thirlby advises that we should read, a stray, i, e. a stray sheep; which continues Protheus's banter upon Speed. THEOBALD.
Line 119. - -did she nod ?] These words have been supplied by some of the editors, to introduce what follows.
Line 148. telling her mind.] The old copy reads your
.. Line 153. you have testern'd me;] You have gratified me with a tester, testern, or testen, that is, with a sixpence.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 183. Should censure thus, &c.] To censure means, in this place, to pass sentence. STEEVENS, Line 209. a goodly broker!] A broker was used for matchmaker, sometimes for a procuress. JOHNSON. Line 240. -stomach on your meat,] Stomach was used for passion or obstinacy. JOHNSON, Line 274. Indeed, I bid the base for Protheus.] The speaker here turns the allusion (which her mistress employed) from the base in musick to a country exercise, Bid-the-base: in which some pursue, and others are made prisoners. So that Lucetta would intend, by this, to say, Indeed I take pains to make you a captive to Protheus's passion. WARBURTON.
Line 315. Yet here they shall not lie, for catching cold.] Mean, ing, here they shall not lie lest they should catch cold.
Line 316. I see, you have a month's mind to them.] A month's mind was an anniversary in times of popery; or, as Mr. Ray calls it, a less solemnity directed by the will of the deceased. There was also a year's mind, and a week's mind. See Proverbial Phrases.
"Was the month's mind of Sir Will. Laxton, who died the "last month (July 1556,) his hearse burning with wax, and "the morrow mass celebrated, and a sermon preached," &c. Strype's Mem. vol. 3. p. 305. Dr. GREY.
A month's mind, in the ritual sense, signifies not desire or inclination, but remonstrance; yet I suppose this is the true original of the expression. JOHNSON,
ACT I. SCENE III.
-what sad talk- -] Sad is the same as grave JOHNSON.
Line 326. -of slender reputation.] i. e. Of mean parentage, Line 329. Some, to discover islands far away;] In Shakspeare's time, voyages for the discovery of the islands of Ame
rica were much in vogue. And we find, in the journals of the travellers of that time, that the sons of noblemen, and of others of the best families in England, went very frequently on these adventures. Such as the Fortescues, Collitons, Thornhills, Farmers, Pickerings, Littletons, Willoughbys, Chesters, Hawleys, Bromleys, and others. To this prevailing fashion our poet fre quently alludes, and not without high commendations of it. WARBURTON.
Line 365. —in good time—] In good time was the old expression when something happened which suited the thing in hand, as the French say, à propos. JOHNSON.
So in Richard III.
"And, in good time, here comes the sweating lord."
break with him.] Means, break it to him.
407. Oh, how this spring of love resembleth] At the end of this verse there is wanting a syllable, for the speech apparently ends in a quatrain. I find nothing that will rhyme to sun, and therefore shall leave it to some happier critick. But I suspect that the author might write thus:
Oh, how this spring of love resembleth right,
Which now shews all the glory of the light,
Light was either by negligence or affectation changed to sun, which, considered without the rhyme, is indeed better. The next transcriber, finding that the word right did not rhyme to sun, supposed it erroneously written, and left it out. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 28. -Hallowmas.- -] That is, about the feast of All-Saints, when winter begins, and the life of a vagrant becomes less comfortable. JOHNSON.
Line 40. simple.
-none else would :- -] None else would be so JOHNSON. Line 77. for going ungartered!] Vide As you like it. Act 3. Sc. 2.