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JOHNSON. I believe brach Merriman means only Merriman the brach. So in the old song,
“ Cow Crumbocke is a very good cow." Brach however appears to have been a particular sort of hound. In an old metrical charter, granted by Edward the Confessor to the hundred of Cholmer and Dancing, in Essex, there are the two following lines;
“ Four greyhounds & six Bratches,
STEEVENS. 6-the poor cur is emboss’d.] Emboss'd is a term of the chace. When a dog by long hunting foams at the mouth, he is said to be embossed.
? And when he says he is-say that he dreams.] One can hardly conceive that he would confess himself to be lunatic; neither is lunacy a thing incompatible with the condition of a lord. Şir T. Hanmer thinks that Shakspeare wrote,
“And when he says he's poor,--say, that he dreams." The dignity of a lord is then significantly opposed to the poverty which it would be natural for him to acknowledge.
STEEVENS. I rather think here is nothing more than a licentious omission of the pronoun who; ' And when he says he is' means, ' And when he informs you who he is.'
8 Modesty.] i. e. Moderation.
i-to accept our duty.] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.
JOHNSON. I think, 'twas Soto] I take our author here to be paying a compliment to Beaumont and Fletcher's Women pleas'd, in which comedy there is the character of Soto, who is a farmer's son, and a very facetious serving-man. Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope prefix the name of Sim to the line here spoken; but the first folio has it Sincklo; which, no doubt, was the name of one of the players here introduced, and who had played the part of Soto with applause.
THEOBALD. 11-in the world.] Here follows an insertion made by Mr. Pope from the old play, which is neither found in the quarto, 1631, nor in the folio, 1623. I have therefore sunk it into a note, as we have no proof that the first sketch of the play was written by Shakspeare.
“ 2 Play. [to the other.] Go, get a dish-clout to “ make clean your shoes, and I'll speak for the pro“perties.*
[Exit Player. My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a property, and a little vinegar to make our devil
Property) in the language of a playhouse, is every imple. ment necessary to the exhibition.
JOHNSON. ta little vinegar to make our devil roar.] When the acting
The shoulder of mutton was indeed necessary afterwards for the dinner of Petruchio, but there is no devil in the piece, neither were the players yet informed what comedy they should represent.
of Burton-Heath - Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot.] I suspect we should read Barton-Heath. Barton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Gloucestershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character. Warton
that “ Wilnecotte is a village in Warwickshire, with which Shakspeare was well acquainted,
the mysteries of the Old and New Testament was in vogue; at the representation of the mystery of the Passion, Judas and the Devil made a part. And the Devil, wherever he came, was always to suffer some disgrace, to make the people laugh: as here, the buffoonery was to apply the gall and vinegar to make him roar.
And the Passion being that, of all the mysteries, which was most frequently represented, vinegar became at length the standing implement to torment the devil; and used for this purpose even after the mysteries ceased, and the moralities came in vogue; where the Devil continued to have a considerable part.
-The mention of it here was to ridicule so absurd a circumstance in these old farces. WARBURTON.
The bladder of vinegar was likewise used for other purposes. I meet with the following stage direction in the old play of Cambyses (by T. Preston) when one of the characters is supposed to die from the wounds he had just received. Here let 4 small bladder of vinegar be prick'd. I suppose to counterfeit blood: red-wine vinegar was chiefly used, as appears from the old books of cookery,
near Stratford. The house kept by our genial hostess, still remains, but is at present a mill.'
There is also a Burton in Warwickshire, and a Barton on the Heath. The latter is, perhaps, the place here alluded to. Mr. Malone says that Dover, the founder of the Cotswold games, lived there.
13 Amen.-] In this place, Mr. Pope, and after him other editors, had introduced the three following speeches, from the old edition 1607. I have already observed that it is by no means certain, that the former comedy of the Taming the Shrew was written by Shakspeare, and have therefore removed them from the text.
Sly. By the mass, I think I am a lord indeed, “ What is thy name?
“ Man. Sim, an it please your honour.
“ Sly. Sim! that's as much as to say, Simeon, “ or Simon. Put forth thy hand, and fill the pot.”
-Aristotle's checks,] are, I suppose, the harsh rules of Aristotle.
s A pretty peat!] Peat or pet is a word of endearment from petit, little, as if it meant pretty little thing.
JOHNSON. This word is used in the old play of King Leir (not Shakspeare's) “ Gon. I marvel, Ragan, how you can endure “ To see that proud, pert peat, our youngest
sister, &c." and is, I believe, of Scotch extraction. I find it in one of the proverbs of that country, where it signifies darling.
“ He has fault of a wife, that marries mam's pet." i. e. He is in great want of a wife who marries one who is her mother's darling.
STEEVENS. 16 Cunning men.) Cunning had not yet lost its original signification of knowing, learned, as may be observed in the translation of the Bible. JOHNSON,
17 Redime, &c.] Our author had this line from Lilly, which I mention, that it may not be brought as an argument of his learning.
JOHNSON. 18 Basta ;] i.e. 'tis enough; Italian and Spanish. This expression occurs in the Mad Lover, and the Little French Lawyer, of Beaumont and Fletcher.
STEEVENS. 19 — port-] Port is figure, show, appearance.
20 —what he 'leges in Latin.) i. e. I suppose, , what he alleges in Latin. Petruchio has been just speaking Italian to Hortensio, which Grumio mistakes for the other language.
This mistake is not very well contrived of Shakspeare, as the scene is laid in Italy.
21 But in a few.] In a few means the same as in short, in few words.
JOHNSON. 22 —is burthen of my wooing dance-] The burthen of a dance is an expression which I have never heard; the burthen of his wooing song had been more proper.
JOHNSON. -as foul as was Florentius' love.] The story of Florentius marrying an old deformed beldame, who