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Next to thyself, and my young rover, he's
HER. If you would seek us, We are yours i' the garden: Shall's attend you there ?
LEON. To your own bents dispose you: you'll be
Be you beneath the sky :-I am angling now,
Observing POLIXENES and HERMIONE.
[Exeunt POLIXENES, HERMIONE, and At-
Go, play, boy, play;-thy mother plays, and I
Or I am much deceiv'd, cuckolds ere now;
5 Apparent] That is, heir apparent, or the next claimant. JOHNSON.
6 the neb,] The word is commonly pronounced and written nib. It signifies here the mouth. So, in Anne the Queen of Hungarie, being one of the Tales in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, 1566: “the amorous wormes of love did bitterly gnawe and teare his heart wyth the nebs of their forked heads."
7 To her ALLOWING husband!] Allowing in old language is approving. MALone.
a FORK'D One.] That is, a horned one; a cuckold.
So, in Othello:
"Even then this forked plague is fated to us,
And many a man there is, even at this present, Now, while I speak this, holds his wife by the arm, That little thinks she has been sluic'd in his absence,
And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour1, by
As mine, against their will: Should all despair,
It is a bawdy planet, that will strike
It will let in and out the enemy,
With bag and baggage: many a thousand of us
Why, that's some comfort.
CAM. Ay, my good lord. LEON. Go play, Mamillius; thou'rt an honest [Exit MAMILLIus.
"Thy letters have transported me beyond.
even at THIS PRESENT,] i. e. present time. So, in Mac
See note on this passage, Act I. Sc. V. STEEVens.
And his POND FISH'D by his next neighbour,] This metaphor perhaps owed its introduction and currency, to the once frequent depredations of neighbours on each other's fish, a complaint that often occurs in ancient correspondence. Thus, in one of the Paston Letters, vol. iv. p. 15: “ My mother bade me send you word that Waryn Herman hath daily fished her water all this year." STEEvens.
-THEY say.] They, which was omitted in the original copy by the carelessness of the transcriber or printer, was added by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.
Camillo, this great sir will yet stay longer.
CAM. You had much ado to make his anchor
When you cast out, it still came home 3.
Didst note it? CAM. He would not stay at your petitions; made His business more material 4.
LEON. Didst perceive it ?They're here with me already '; whispering, rounding,
Sicilia is a-so-forth': 'Tis far gone,
3 it still came home.] This is a sea-faring expression, meaning, the anchor would not take hold. STEEVENS.
His business more material.] i. e. the more you requested him to stay, the more urgent he represented that business to be which summoned him away. STEEVENS.
5 They're here with me already;] Not Polixenes and Hermione, but casual observers, people accidentally present.
6 - whispering, ROUNDING,] To round in the ear is to whisper, or to tell secretly. The expression is very copiously explained by M. Casaubon, in his book de Ling Sax. JOHNSON.
The word is frequently used by Chaucer, as well as later writers. So, in Lingua, 1607 : I helped Herodotus to pen some part of his Muses; lent Pliny ink to write his History; and rounded Rabelais in the ear, when he historified Pantagruel.” Again, in The Spanish Tragedy:
66 Forthwith revenge she rounded me i' th' ear."
7 Sicilia is a-so-FORTH:] This was a phrase employed when the speaker, through caution or disgust, wished to escape the utterance of an obnoxious term. A commentator on Shakspeare will often derive more advantage from listening to vulgar than to polite conversation. At the corner of Fleet Market, I lately heard one woman, describing another, say-" Every body knows that her husband is a so-forth." As she spoke the last word, her fingers expressed the emblem of cuckoldom. STEEVENS.
In regulating this line, I have adopted a hint suggested by Mr. M. Mason. I have more than once observed, that almost every abrupt sentence in these plays is corrupted. These words, without the break now introduced, are to me unintelligible. Leontes means—I think I already hear my courtiers whispering to each
When I shall gust it last.-How came't, Camillo, That he did stay?
At the good queen's entreaty. LEON. At the queen's, be't: good, should be pertinent;
But so it is, it is not. Was this taken
other, Sicilia is a cuckold, a tame cuckold, to which (says he) they will add every other opprobrious name and epithet they can think of;" for such, I suppose, the meaning of the words-so forth. He avoids naming the word cuckold, from a horror of the very sound. I suspect, however, that our author wrote-Sicilia is-and so forth. So, in The Merchant of Venice: "I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you, and so following.
Again, in Hamlet:
"I saw him enter such a house of sale,
Again, more appositely, in King Henry IV. Part II. :
Again, in Troilus and Cressida: "Is not birth, beauty, good shape, discourse, manhood, learning, and so forth, the spice and salt that season a man?" MALONE.
gust it] i. e. taste it. STEEVENS.
Dedecus ille domus sciet ultimus. Juv. Sat. x. MALONE. 9 - Is soaking,] Dr. Grey would read-in soaking; but I think without necessity. Thy conceit is of an absorbent nature, will draw in more, &c. seems to be the meaning. STEEVENS.
- lower messes,] I believe, lower messes is only used as an expression to signify the lowest degree about the court. See Anstis, Ord. Gart. I. App. p. 15: "The earl of Surry began the borde in presence: the earl of Arundel washed with him, and sat both at the first messe." Formerly not only at every great man's table the visitants were placed according to their consequence or dignity, but with additional marks of inferiority, viz. of sitting below the great saltseller placed in the center of the table, and of having coarser provisions set before them. The former custom is mentioned in The Honest Whore, by Decker, 1604: " Plague him; set him beneath the salt, and let him not
Perchance, are to this business purblind: say. CAM. Business, my lord? I think, most understand
Stays here longer.
LEON. Ay, but why?
CAM. To satisfy your highness, and the entreaties Of our most gracious mistress.
The entreaties of your mistress ?--satisfy ?Let that suffice. I have trusted thee, Camillo, With all the nearest things to my heart, as well My chamber-councils: wherein, priest-like, thou Hast cleans'd my bosom; I from thee departed Thy penitent reform'd: but we have been Deceiv'd in thy integrity, deceiv'd
In that which seems so.
Be it forbid, my lord!
touch a bit till every one has had his full cut." The latter was as much a subject of complaint in the time of Beaumont and Fletcher, as in that of Juvenal, as the following instance may prove:
"Uncut up pies at the nether end, filled with moss and stones,
66 Partly to make a shew with,
"And partly to keep the lower mess from eating."
Woman Hater, Act I. Sc. II. This passage may be yet somewhat differently explained. It appears from a passage in The merye Jest of a Man called Howleglas, bl. 1. no date, that it was anciently the custom in publick houses to keep ordinaries of different prices: "What table will you be at? for at the lordes table thei give me no less than to shylings, and at the merchaunts able xvi pence, and at my household servantes geve me twelve pence."-Leontes comprehends inferiority of understanding in the idea of inferiority of rank. STEEVENS.
Concerning the different messes in the great families of our ancient nobility, see The Household Book of the 5th Earl of Northumberland, 8vo. 1770. PERCY.