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Hol. He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasms, such insociable and point-devise companions; such rackers of orthography, as to speak dout, fine, when he should say, doubt; det, when he should pronounce, debt-d, e, b, t, not d, e, t: he clepeth a calf, cauf; half, hauf; neighbour vocatur nebour; neigh abbreviated ne. This is abhominables, (which he would call abominable,) it insinuateth me of insanie“: ne intelligis domine? to make frantic, lunatic.
Nath. Laus Deo, bone intelligo.
little scratch'd ; 'twill serve.
Enter ARMADO, MOTH, and COSTARD.
Moth. They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.
Cost. O! they have lived long on the alms-basket of words'. I marvel thy master hath not eaten thee for a word; for thou art not so long by the head as honorificabilitudinitatibus : thou art easier swallowed than a flap-dragon
3 This is ABHOMINABLE,] This was a frequent mode of spelling the word before the time of Shakespeare. It seems to have been going out of use when this play was written, and abhominable soon was usually spelt abominable.
4 – it insinuateth me of INSANIE ;) In the old editions, 4to. and folio, "it insinuateth me of infamie.” Theobald made the correction.
50, they have lived long on the ALMS-BASKET of words !) Malone reads in for “on," against all the authorities. Formerly, broken victuals were thrown into a basket, and given to the poor.
-- a FLAP-DRAGON.] A tap.dragon is a small inflammable substance, which topers used to swallow, floating on the top of their wine.
Moth. Peace! the peal begins.
Moth. Yes, yes; he teaches boys the horn-book.— What is a, b, spelt backward with the horn on his head ?
Hol. Ba, pueritia, with a horn added.
Moth. Ba! most silly sheep, with a horn.—You hear his learning
Hol. Quis, quis, thou consonant ?
Moth. The third of the five vowels’, if you repeat them; or the fifth, if I.
Hol. I will repeat them, a, e, i.-
Arm. Now, by the salt wave of the Mediterranean, a sweet touch, a quick venew of wité! snip, snap, quick and home: it rejoiceth my intellect; true wit !
Moth. Offer'd by a child to an old man; which is wit-old.
Hol. What is the figure? what is the figure?
Hol. Thou disputest like an infant: go, whip thy gig.
Moth. Lend me your horn to make one, and I will whip about your infamy circùm circà. A gig of a cuckold's horn!
Cost. An I had but one penny in the world, thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread : hold, there is the very remuneration I had of thy master, thou half-penny purse of wit, thou pigeon-egg of discretion. O! an the heavens were so pleased, that thou wert but my bastard, what a joyful father would'st thou make me. thou hast it ad dunghill, at the fingers' ends, as they say.
Hol. O! I smell false Latin ; dunghill for unguem.
7 The THIRD of the five vowels,] The 4to. and folio editions read “the last of the five vowels,” which is evidently wrong. - a quick venew of wit ;] A
or renie, was the technical term for a hit at the fencing-school. In the various forms of renew, renie, cenny and rennie, it is of common occurrence in our old writers.
Arm. Arts-man, præambula : we will be singled from the barbarous. Do you not educate youth at the charge-house on the top of the mountain ?
Hol. Or mons, the hill.
Arm. Sir, it is the king's most sweet pleasure and affection, to congratulate the princess at her pavilion in the posteriors of this day, which the rude multitude call the afternoon.
Hol. The posterior of the day, most generous sir, is liable, congruent, and measurable for the afternoon: the word is well cull’d, chose ; sweet and apt, I do assure you, sir; I do assure.
Arm. Sir, the king is a noble gentleman, and my familiar, I do assure you, very good friend.—For what is inward between us, let it pass.—I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy ;-I beseech thee, apparel thy head :—and among other important 10 and most serious designs,—and of great import indeed, too,—but let that pass ;—for I must tell thee, it will please his grace (by the world) sometime to lean upon my poor shoulder, and with his royal finger, thus dally with my excrement, with my mustachio: but, sweet heart, let that pass. By the world, I recount no fable: some certain special honours it pleaseth his greatness to impart to Armado, a soldier, a man of travel, that hath seen the world; but let that pass.—The very all of all is,—but, sweet heart, I do implore secrecy,—that the king would have me present the princess, sweet chuck, with some delightful ostentation, or show, or pageant, or antick, or fire-work. Now, understanding that the curate and your sweet self are good at such eruptions, and sudden breaking out of mirth, as it were, I have acquainted you withal, to the end to crave your assistance.
- at the CHARGE-HOUSE] All the old copies have charg-house. Steerens supposed that by “charge-house " was meant a free-school. Possibly, it is only a misprint for “large house."
10 — among other IMPORTANT] The folio has importunate. Shakespeare uses the words synonymously. See note 5, p. 169, and note 3, p. 203. “Important” is from the 4to, 1598.
Hol. Sir, you shall present before her the nine Worthies.—Sir Nathaniel', as concerning some entertainment of time, some show in the posterior of this day, to be rendered by our assistance,—the king's command, and this most gallant, illustrate, and learned gentleman, -before the princess, I say, none so fit as to present the nine Worthies.
Nath. Where will you find men worthy enough to present them?
Hol. Joshua, yourself; myself, or this gallant gentleman’, Judas Maccabeus; this swain, (because of his great limb or joint,) shall pass Pompey the great; the
Arm. Pardon, sir; error: he is not quantity enough for that worthy's thumb: he is not so big as the end of his club.
Hol. Shall I have audience? he shall present Hercules in minority: his enter and exit shall be strangling a snake; and I will have an apology for that purpose.
Moth. An excellent device! so, if any of the audience hiss, you may cry, “Well done, Hercules ! now thou crushest the snake!” that is the way to make an offence gracious, though few have the grace to do it.
Arm. For the rest of the Worthies ?-
Arm. We will have, if this fadge not?, an antick. I beseech
follow. Hol. Via Goodman Dull, thou hast spoken no word all this while.
· Sir Nathaniel,] Misprinted “Sir Holofernes” in all the old copies.
– myself, or this gallant gentleman] The old copies have and for “or :" the change seems necessary.
3 — if this Fadge not,] i. e. Suit not, or answer not the purpose.
Dull. Nor understood none neither, sir.
Dull. I'll make one in a dance, or so; or I will play on the tabor to the Worthies, and let them dance the hay. Hol. Most dull, honest Dull. To our sport, away!
Another part of the Same. Before the Princess's
Enter the PRINCESS, KATHARINE, ROSALINE, and MARIA.
Prin. Sweet hearts, we shall be rich ere we depart, If fairings come thus plentifully in : A lady wall’d about with diamonds ! Look you, what I have from the loving king.
Ros. Madam, came nothing else along with that?
Ros. That was the way to make his god-head wax'; For he hath been five thousand years a boy.
Kath. Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.
* – to make his god-head wax ;] i. e. grox : the pun is cbvious.