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imagine we, Gentle spectators, that you now may be, etc. Let us imagine that you, who behold these see. Res, are now in Bohemia. JOHNSON.
Imagine me, means imagine with me, or imagine for me; and is a common mode of expression. Thus we say .do me such a thing," ..spell me such a word."
M. MASON. P. 142, last. l. but one. Argument is the same with subject. JOHNSON,
P. 142, last l. but one. To allow in our author's time signified to approve. MALONE.
P. 143, 1.9. It is fifteen years, ] We should read sixteen. Time has just said:
thad I slide O'er sixteen years.
STEEVENS. P. 143. 1. 25. 26. The sense of heaping friendships, though like many other of our author's, unusual, at least unusual to modern ears, is not very obscure. To be more thankful shall be my study; and my profits therein the heaping friendships. That is, I will for the future be more liberal of recompence, from which I shall receive this advantage, that as I heap benefits I shall heap friendships, as I confer favours on thee I shall increase the fricndship between us. JOHNSON.
Friendships is, I believe, here used, with suf. ficient licence, merely for friendly offices,
MALONE. P. 141, 1. 6. Missingly noted means, I have observed him at intervals, not constantly or regularly, occasionally. STEEVENS.
P, 144, l. 22. But I fear the angle -] Mr. Thca. bald reads, and I fear the engle. JOHNSON.
Angle in this place means a fishing rod, which he represents as drawing his son, like a fish, away.
P, 144, l. 24. - some question -] i. e. some talk.
MALONE. P. 145, 1. 3. Autolycus was the son of Mercury, aidd as famous for all the arts of fraud and thievery as his father; „Non fuit Antolyci tam piceata manus."
Martial. STEEVENS. P. 145, 1. 4. When daffodils begin to peer, and
Jog on, jog on, the foot.path way,) „Two nonsensical songs, by the rogue Autolycus," says Dr. Burney. But could not the many compliments paid by Shakspeare to musical science, intercede for a better epithet than nonsensical ?
The Dr. subsequently observes, that „This Autolycus is the true ancient Minstrel, as described in the old Fabliaux."
I believe that many of our readers will push the comparison a little further, and concur with me in thinking that our modern minstrels of the opera, like their predecessor Autolycus, are pick-pockets as well as singers of nonsensical baliads. STEEVENS. P. 145, 1. 7. For the red blood reigns in the win.
ter's pale.] This line has suffered a great variety of alterations, but I am persuaded the old reading is the true one. The first co.io has the winter's pale;" and the meaning is, the red, the spring blood now reigns o'er the parts lately under the dominion of winter. The English pale, ihe Irish pale, were frequent expressions in Shakspeare's time; and the words red and pale were chosen for the sake of the antithesis. FARMER.
Dr. Farmer is certainly right. I had offered this explanation to Dr. Johnson, who rejected it.
STEEVENS. P. 145, 1. 10. Doth set my pugging tooth an edge;] Sir T. Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read -progging tooth. It is certain that pugging is not now understood. But Dr. Thirlby observes, that it is the cant of gypsies. JOHNSON.
The word pugging is used by Greene in one of his pieces; - and a puggard was a cant name for some particular kind of thief. STLEVEN
P. 145, l. 14. Aunt appears to have been at this time a cant word for a bawd. STEEVENS. P. 145, 1. 17. three-pile i. e. rich velvet.
STEEVENS. P. 145, l. 26. My traffick is sheets: when the kite builds, look to lesser linen.] Autolycus meaus, that his practice was to steal sheets and large pieces of linen, leaving the smaller pieces for the kites to build with. M. MASON.
Lesser linen is an ancient term, for which our modern laundresses have substituted - small clotheso
STEEVENS. This passage, I find, is not generally understood. When the good women, in solitary cottages near the woods where kites build, miss any of their lesser linen, as it hangs to dry on the hedge in spring, they conclude that the kite has been ma. rauding for a lining to her nest; and there advent. urous boys often find it employed for that purpose. HOLT WHITE.
P. 145, 1.27. My father named me, Autolycus ;) Mr. Theobald says,
the allusion is unquestionably to Ovid. He is mistaken. Not only the allusion, but the whole speech is taken from Lucian; who appears to have been one of our poet's favourite authors, as may be collected from several places of his works. It is from his discourse on judicial astrology, where Autolycus talks much in the same manner; and 'tis on this account that he is called the son of Mercury by the ancients, namely because he was born under that planet. And as the infant was supposed by the astrologers to communicate of the nature of the star which predominated, so Autolyciis was a thief. WARBURTON.
This piece of Lucian, to which Dr. Warburton refers, was translated long before the time of Shak. speare. I have seen it, but it had no date.
STEEVENS. P. 146, first I. With die, and drab, I purchased this caparison;] i. e. with gaming and whoring, I brought myself to this shabby dress. PERCY.
P. 146, 1. g. and my revenue is the silly cheat:] Silly is used by the writers of our author's time, for simple, low, mean; and in this the humour of the speech consists. I don't aspire to arduous and high. things, as Bridewell or the gallows; I am con. tented with this humble and low way of life, as a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles. But the Oxfort editor, who, by his emendations, seems to have declared war against all Shakspeare's humour, 'alters
the sly cheat. WARBURTON. The silly cheat is one of the technical terms belonging to the art of coneycatching or thievery', which Greene has mentioned among the rest, in his treatise on that ancient and honourable science. I think it means picking pockets. STEZVENS.
P. 146, 1. 2. 3. Gallows, and knock, are too powerful on the highway:1 The resistance which a highwayman encounters in the fact, aud the pu. nishment which he suffers on detection, withhold
me from daring robbery, and determine me to the silly cheat and petty theft. JOHNSON.
P: 146, 1.7. Every 'leven wether tods;) A tod is twenty eight pounds of wool. PERCY.
I was led into an errour concerning this passage by the word tods, which I conceived to be a substantive, but which is used ungrammatically as the third person singular of the verb to tod, in concord with the preceding words every 'leven wether. The same disregard of grammar is found in almost every page of the old copies, and has been properly corrected, but here is in character, and should be preserved.
Dr. Farmer observes to me, that to tod is used as a verb by, dealers in wool; thus, they say, „Twen. ty sheep ought to tod fifty pounds of wool,” etc. The meaning therefore of the clown's words is, „Every eleven wether tods; i. e. will produce a tod, or twenty-eight pounds of wool: every tod yields a pound and some odd shillings; what then will the wool of fifteen hundred yield ?"
The occupation of his father furnished our poet with accurate knowledge on this subject; for two pounds and a half of wool is, I am told, a very good produce from a sheep at the time of shearing. About thirty shillings a tod is a high price at this day. It is singular, as Sir Henry Englefield remarks to me, that there should be so little variation between the price of wool in Shakspeare's time and the present. - In 1425, as I learn from Kennet's Parochial Antiquities, a tod of wool sold for nine shillings and six pence. MALONE.
This has been rightly expounded to mean that the wool of eleven sheep would weigh a tod, or 281b. Each fleece would, herefore, 1. dr. and the whole produce of fifteen hundred