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after the old painting;3 and keep not too long in one tune, but a snip and away: These are complements, these are humours; these betray5 nice wenches—that would be betrayed without these; and make them men of note, (do you note, men?) that most are affected to these.6
Arm. How hast thou purchased this experience?
like a man after the old painting;] It was a common trick among some of the most indolent of the ancient masters, to place the hands in the bosom or the pockets, or conceal them in some other part of the drapery, to avoid the labour of representing them, or to disguise their own want of skill to employ them with grace and propriety. Steevens.
These are complements,] Dr. Warburton has here changed complements to complishments, for accomplishments, but unnecessarily. Fohnson.
these betray &c.] The former editors :- these betray nice wenches, that would be betray'd without these, and make them men of note. But who will ever believe, that the old attitudes and affectations of lovers, by which they betray young wenches, should have power to make these young wenches men of note? His meaning is, that they not only inveigle the young girls, but make the men taken notice of too, who affect them. Theobald.
and make them men of note, (do you note, men?) that most are affected to these.] i. e. and make those men who are most af. fected to such accomplishments, men of note.-Mr. Theobald, without any necessity, reads--and make the men of note, &c. which was, I think, too hastily adopted in the subsequent editions. One of the modern editors, instead of_" do you note, men?” with great probability reads—“ do you note me?" Malone.
? By my penny of observation,] Thus, Sir T. Hanmer; and his reading is certainly right. The allusion is to the famous old piece, called a Penniworth of Wit. The old copy reads--pen.
Farmer, The story Dr. Farmer refers to, was certainly printed before Shakspeare's time. See Langham's Letter, &c. Ritson. 8 Arm. But 0,--but 0,
Moth. -the hobby-horse is forgot.] In the celebration of May-day, besides the sports now used of hanging a pole with garlands, and dancing round it, formerly a boy was dressed up representing Maid Marian; another like a friar; and another rode on a hobby-horse, with bells jingling, and painted streamers. After the reformation took place, and precisians multiplied, these Arm. Callest thou my love, hobby-horse?
Moth. No, master; the hobby-horse is but a colt, and your love, perhaps, a hackney. But have you forgot your love?
Arm. Almost I had.
Arm. What wilt thou prove?
Moth. A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and with. . out, upon the instant: By heart you love her, because your heart cannot come by her: in heart you love her, because your heart is in love with her; and out of heart you love her, being out of heart that you cannot enjoy her.
Arm. I am all these three.
Moth. And three times as much more, and yet nothing at all.
Arm. Fetch hither the swain; he must carry me a letter.
Moth. A message well sympathised; a horse to be embassador for an ass!
Arm. Ha, ha! what sayest thou?
Moth. Marry, sir, you must send the ass upon the horse, for he is very slow-gaited: But I go.
Arm. The way is but short; away.
Arm. Thy meaning, pretty ingenious?
Moth. Minimè, honest master; or rather master, no. Arm. I say, lead is slow.
latter rites were looked upon to savour of paganism; and then Maid Marian, the friar, and the poor hobby-horse, were turned out of the games. Some who were not so wisely precise, but regretted the disuse of the hobby-horse, no doubt satirized this suspicion of idolatry, and archly wrote the epitaph above alluded to. Now Moth, hearing Armado groan ridiculously, and cry out But oh! but oh!--humorously pieces out his exclamation with the sequel of this epitaph. Theobald. The same line is repeated in Hamlet. See note on Act III,
but a colt,] Colt is a hot, mad-brained, unbroken young fellow; or sometimes an old fellow with youthful desires.
You are too swift, sir, to say so:1 Is that lead slow which is fir'd from a gun?
Arm. Sweet smoke of rhetorick!
Thump then, and I flee. [Exit.
Re-enter Moth and CostaRD. Moth. A wonder, master; here's a Costard broken 3
in a shin. Arm. Some enigma, some riddle: come—thy Pen
voy ;-begin. Cost. No egma, no riddle, no l'envoy ;4 no salve in
1 You are too swift, sir, to say so:) How is he too swift for saying that lead is slow? I fancy we should read, as well to supply the rhyme as the sense :
You are too swift, sir, to say so so soon:
Is that lead slow, sir, which is fir'd from a gun? Fohnson. The meaning, I believe, is, You do not give yourself time to think, if you say so; or, as Mr. M. Mason explains the passage:
“ You are too hasty in saying that: you have not sufficiently considered it.”
Swift, however, means ready at replies. So, in Marston's Malcontent, 1604:
“ I have eaten but two spoonfuls, and methinks I could discourse both swiftly and wittily, already.” Steevens.
Swift is here used, as in other places, synonymously with witty. I suppose the meaning of Atalanta's better part, in As you like it, is her wit—the swiftness of her mind. Farmer.
So, in As you like it : “ He is very swift and sententious.” Again, in Much Ado about Nothing :
“ Having so swift and excellent a wit.” On reading the letter which contained an intimation of the Gunpowder-plot in 1605, King James said, that “the style was more quick and pithie than was usual in pasquils and libels.”
Malone. 2 By thy favour, sweet welkin,] Welkin is the sky, to which Armado, with the false dignity of a Spaniard, makes an apology for sighing in its face. Johnson.
here's a Costard broken -] i. e. a head. So, in Hycke Scorner :
“I wyll rappe you on the costard with my horne.” Steevens. 4 no l'envoy;] The l'envoy is a term borrowed from the
the mail, sir:5 0, sir, plantain, a plain plantain; no-lenvoy, no l'envoy, no salve, sir, but a plantain!
old French poetry. It appeared always at the head of a few concluding verses to each piece, which either served to convey the moral, or to address the poem to some particular person. It was frequently adopted by the ancient English writers.
So, in Monsieur D'Olive, 1606:
“ Well said ; now to the L'Envoy.”- All the Tragedies of John Bochas, translated by Lidgate, are followed by a L'Envoy.
Steevens. no salve in the mail, sir:] The old folio reads--no salve in thee male, sir, which, in another folio, is, no salve in the male, sir. What it can mean, is not easily discovered: if mail for a packet or bag was a word then in use, no salve in the mail may mean, no salve in the mountebank's budget. Or shall we readno enigma, no riddle, no l'envoy--in the vale, sir--, sir, plantain. The matter is not great, but one would wish for some meaning or other. Johnson.
Male or mail was a word then in use. Reynard the fox sent Kayward's head in a male. So, likewise, in Tamburlane, or the Scythian Shepherd, 1590:
Open the males, yet guard the treasure sure.” I believe Dr. Johnson's first explanation to be right. Steevens.
Male, which is the reading of the old copies, is only the ancient spelling of mail. So, in Taylor the water-poet's works, (Character of a Bawd) 1630:-"the cloathe-bag of counsel, the capcase, fardle, pack, male, of friendly toleration:” The quarto 1598, and the first folio, have—thee male. Corrected by the edi. tor of the second folio. Malone.
I can scarcely think that Shakspeare had so far forgotten his little school-learning, as to suppose the Latin verb salve and the English substantive, salve, had the same pronunciation; and yet without this the quibble cannot be preserved. Farmer.
The same quibble occurs in Aristippus, or The Fovial Philosopher, 1630:
“ Salve, Master Simplicius.
“ Salve me; 'tis but a Surgeon's complement.” Steevens. Perhaps we should read-no salve in them all, sir. Tyrwhitt.
This passage appears to me to be nonsense as it stands, incapable of explanation, I have therefore no doubt but we should adopt the amendment proposed by Mr. Tyrwhitt, and read-No salve in them all, sir.
Moth tells his master, that there was a Costard with a broken shin: and the Knight, supposing that Moth has some conceit in what he said, calls upon him to explain it. --Some riddle, says he, some enigma. Come—thy l'envoy-begin. But Costard supposing that he was calling for these things, in order to apply them to his broken sbin, says, he will not have them, as they were none of them salves, and begs for a plain plantain instead of them. , Thi
Arm. By virtue, thou enforcest laughter; thy silly thought, my spleen; the heaving of my lungs provokes me to ridiculous smiling: 0, pardon me, my stars! Doth the inconsiderate take salve for l'envoy, and the word, l'envoy, for a salve?
Moth. Do the wise think them other? is not l'envoy a salve? Arm. No, page: it is an epilogue or discourse, to
make plain Some obscure precedence that hath tofore been sain. I will example it:6
The fox, the ape, and the humble-bee,
Were still at odds, being but three. There's the moral: Now the l'envoy.
Moth. I will add the l'envoy: Say the moral again.
is clearly the meaning of Costard's speech, which provokes the illustrious Armado to laugh at the inconsiderate, who takes salve for l'envoy, and the word l'envoy for salve.
But when Moth, who is an arch and sensible character, says, in reply to Armado:- :-" Do the wise think them other? Is not l'envoy a salve ?" we must not suppose that this question is owing to his simplicity, but that he intended thereby either to lead the Knight on to the subsequent explanation of the word l'envoy, or to quibble in the manner stated in the notes upon the English word salve and the Latin salvé; a quibble which operates upon the eye, not the ear:- -Yet Steevens has shown it was not a new
If this quibble was intended, which does not evidently appear to be the case, the only way that I account for it, is this:
As the l'envoy was always in the concluding part of a play or poem, it was probably in the l'envoy that the poet or reciter took leave of the audience, and the word itself appears to be derived from the verb envoyer, to send away. Now the usual salutation amongst the Romans at parting, as well as meeting, was the word salvé. Moth, therefore considers the l'envoy as a salutation or salvé, and then quibbling on this last word, asks if it be not a salve.
I do not offer this explanation with much confidence, but it is the only one that occurs to me. M. Mason.
6 I will example it: &c.] These words, and some others, are not in the first folio, but in the quarto of 1598. I still believe the old passage to want regulation, though it has not sufficient merit to encourage the editor who should attempt it: There is in Tusser an old song, beginning
“ The ape, the lion, the fox, and the asse,
“ Thus sets forth man in a glasse," &c. Perhaps some ridicule on this ditty was intended. Steevens.