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all our guests? 'Tis well they are whispering: Clamour your tongues', and not a word more.
MOP. I have done. Come, you promised me a tawdry lace?, and a pair of sweet gloves 3.
I-CLAMOUR your tongues,] The phrase is taken from ringing. When bells are at the height, in order to cease them, the repetition of the strokes becomes much quicker than before; this is called clamouring them. The allusion is humorous.
The word clamour, when applied to bells, does not signify in Shakspeare a ceasing, but a continued ringing. Thus used in Much Ado about Nothing, Act V. Sc. II.:
"Ben.-If a man do not erect in this age his own tomb e'er he dies, he shall live no longer in monument, than the bell rings and the widow weeps.
"Beat. And how long is that, think you?
"Ben. Question? why an hour in clamour, and a quarter in rheum." GREY.
Perhaps the meaning is, "Give one grand peal, and then have done." "A good Clam" (as I learn from Mr. Nichols,) in some villages is used in this sense, signifying a grand peal of all the bells at once. I suspect that Dr. Warburton is a mere gratis dictum.
In a note on Othello, Dr. Johnson says, that "to clam a bell is to cover the clapper with felt, which drowns the blow, and hinders the sound." If this be so, it affords an easy interpretation of the passage before us.
But, after all, I am inclined to think, with Grey, that clamour is here a misprint for charm your tongues, i. e. be silent. So, in A Faire Quarrell by Middleton and Rowley, 1607:
"Chan. Ile not speake a word y faith.
"Russ. Charme your man, I beseech you, too." Admitting this to be the sense, the disputed phrase may answer to the modern one of" ringing a dumb peal," i. e. with muffled bells. STEEvens.
- you promised me a TAWDRY LACE,] Tawdry lace is thus described in Skinner, by his friend Dr. Henshawe: "Tawdrie lace, astrigmenta, timbriæ, seu fasciola, emtæ Nundinis Sæ. Etheldredæ celebratis: Üt rectè monet Doc. Thomas Henshawe." Etymol. in voce. We find it in Spenser's Pastorals, Aprill:
"And gird in
"For more finenesse, with a tawdrie lace." T. WARTON. So, in The Life and Death of Jack Straw, a comedy, 1593: “Will you in faith, and I'll give you a tawdrie lace."
CLO. Have I not told thee, how I was cozened. by the way, and lost all my money?
Tom, the miller, offers this present to the queen, if she will procure his pardon.
It may be worth while to observe, that these tawdry laces were not the strings with which the ladies fasten their stays, but were worn about their heads, and their waists. So, in The Four P's, 1569:
"Brooches and rings, and all manner of beads, "Laces round and flat for women's heads." Again, in Drayton's Polyolbion, song the second:
"Of which the Naides and the blew Nereides make
In a marginal note it is observed that tawdries are a kind of necklaces worn by country wenches.
Again, in the fourth song:
not the smallest beck,
"But with white pebbles makes her tawdries for her neck." STEEVENS.
3a pair of sweet gloves.] Sweet, or perfumed gloves, are frequently mentioned by Shakspeare, and were very fashionable in the age of Elizabeth, and long afterwards. Thus Autolycus, in the song just preceding this passage, offers to sale :
"Gloves as sweet as damask roses."
Stowe's Continuator, Edmund Howes, informs us, that the English could not "make any costly wash or perfume, until about the fourteenth or fifteenth of the queene [Elizabeth,] the right honourable Edward Vere earle of Oxford came from Italy, and brought with him gloves, sweet bagges, a perfumed leather jerkin, and other pleasant thinges and that yeare the queene had a payre of perfumed gloves trimmed onlie with foure tuftes, or roses, of cullered silke. The queene took such pleasure in those gloves, that shee was pictured with those gloves upon her hands and for many yeers after it was called the erle of Oxfordes perfume." Stowe's Annals, by Howes, edit. 1614, p. 868, col. 2.
In the computus of the bursars of Trinity College, Oxford, for the year 1631, the following article occurs: "Solut. pro fumigandis chirothecis." Gloves make a constant and considerable article of expence in the earlier accompt-books of the college here mentioned; and without doubt in those of many other societies. They were annually given (a custom still subsisting) to the college-tenants, and often presented to guests of distinction. But it appears (at least, from accompts of the said college in preceding years,) that the practice of perfuming gloves for this
AUT. And, indeed, sir, there are cozeners abroad; therefore it behoves men to be wary.
CLO. Fear not thou, man, thou shalt lose nothing here.
AUT. I hope so, sir; for I have about me many parcels of charge.
CLO. What hast here? ballads ?
MOP. Pray now, buy some: I love a ballad in print, a'-life; for then we are sure they are
Aur. Here's one to a very doleful tune, How a usurer's wife was brought to bed of twenty moneybags at a burden; and how she longed to eat adders' heads, and toads carbonadoed.
Mop. Is it true, think you?
AUT. Very true; and but a month old.
purpose was fallen into disuse soon after the reign of Charles the First. T. WARTON.
In the ancient metrical romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, (which must have been written before the year 1375,) is the following passage, from which one would suppose, (if the author has been guilty of no anti-climax) that gloves were once a more estimable present than gold:
"Lete me thy prisoneres seen,
I wole thee gyfe both goolde and gloves." p. 39.
4 I love a ballad in print, A'-LIFE ;] Theobald reads, as it has been hitherto printed,- —or a life.. The text, however, is right; only it should be printed thus:-a'-life. So, it is in Ben Jonson : thou lov'st a'-life
"Their perfum'd judgment."
It is the abbreviation, I suppose, of-at life; as a'-work is, of at work. TYRWHITT.
This restoration is certainly proper. So, in The Isle of Gulls, 1606: "Now in good deed I love them a'-life too." Again, in A Trick to catch the Old One, 1619: "I love that sport a'-life, i'faith." A-life is the reading of the eldest copies of The Winter's Tale, viz. fol. 1623, and 1632. STEEVENS.
tress Taleporter; and five or six honest wives' that were present: Why should I carry lies abroad?
MOP. 'Pray you now, buy it.
CLO. Come on, lay it by: And let's first see more ballads; we'll buy the other things anon.
AUT. Here's another ballad, Of a fish, that appeared upon the coast, on Wednesday the fourscore of April, forty thousand fathom above water, and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids:
6 ballad, Of a fish, &c.] Perhaps in later times prose has obtained a triumph over poetry, though in one of its meanest departments; for all dying speeches, confessions, narratives of murders, executions, &c. seem anciently to have been written in verse. Whoever was hanged or burnt, a merry, or a lamentable ballad (for both epithets are occasionally bestowed on these compositions) was immediately entered on the books of the Company of Stationers. Thus in a subsequent scene of this play: "Such a deal of wonder is broken out within this hour, that ballad-makers cannot be able to express it." STEEVENS.
"Of a fish that appeared upon the coast,-it was thought, she was a woman," In 1604 was entered on the books of the Stationer's Company: "A strange reporte of a monstrous fish that appeared in the form of a woman, from her waist upward, seene in the sea." To this it is highly probable that Shakspeare alludes.
In Sir Henry Herbert's office-book, which contains a register of all the shews of London from 1623 to 1642, I find " a licence to Francis Sherret, to shew a strange fish for a yeare, from the 10th of Marche, 1635." In that age as at present not only beasts and fishes, but human creatures, were exhibited, and the defects of nature turned to profit; for in a subsequent year the following extraordinary entry occurs, which ascertains a fact that has been doubted:
"A license for six months granted to Lazaras, an Italian, to shew his brother Baptista, that grows out of his navell, and carryes him at his syde. In confirmation of his Majesty's warrant, granted unto him to make publique shewe. Dated the 4. Novemb. 1637." MALONE.
An account of Lazarus and Baptista is given, with a portrait annexed, in Thomæ Bartholini Historiarum Anatomicarum rariorum Centuria, 1 et 11. Amstelodami, 1654. BOSWELL.
See The Tempest, Act II. Sc. II. STEEVENS.
it was thought, she was a woman, and was turned into a cold fish, for she would not exchange flesh" with one that loved her: The ballad is very pitiful, and as true.
DOR. Is it true too, think you?
AUT. Five justices' hands at it; and witnesses, more than my pack will hold.
CLO. Lay it by too: Another.
Aur. This is a merry ballad; but a very pretty
MOP Let's have some merry ones.
AUT. Why, this is a passing merry one; and goes to the tune of, Two maids wooing a man: there's scarce a maid westward, but she sings it; 'tis in request, I can tell you.
MOP. We can both sing it; if thou'lt bear a part, thou shalt hear; 'tis in three parts.
DOR. We had the tune on't a month ago.
AUT. I can bear my part; you must know, 'tis my occupation: have at it with you.
A. Get you hence, for I must go;
D. Whither? M. O, whither? D. Whither?
D. Me too, let me go thither.
M. Or thou go'st to the grange, or mill:
A. Neither. D. What, neither? A. Neither.
D. Thou hast sworn my love to be;
Then, whither go'st?
FOR she would not exchange flesh-] i. e. because.
So, in Othello : Haply, for I am black." MALONE.