Page images

While she chats him: the kitchen malkin' pins
Her richest lockram 'bout her reechy neck,


Had we all the books of our author's age, and had we read them all, it then might be urged. MALONE.


the kitchen MALKIN-] A maukin, or malkin, is a kind of mop made of clouts for the use of sweeping ovens: thence a frightful figure of clouts dressed up: thence a dirty wench. HANMER. Maukin in some parts of England signifies a figure of clouts set up to fright birds in gardens: a scare crow. P.

Malkin is properly the diminutive of Mal (Mary); as Wilkin, Tomkin, &c. In Scotland, pronounced Maukin, it signifies a hare. Grey malkin (corruptly grimalkin) is a cat. The kitchen malkin is just the same as the kitchen Madge or Bess: the scullion. RITSON.

Minsheu gives the same explanation of this term, as Sir T. Hanmer has done, calling it "an instrument to clean an oven,— now made of old clowtes." The etymology which Dr. Johnson has given in his Dictionary-" MALKIN, from Mal or Mary, and kin, the diminutive termination,"-is, I apprehend, erroneous. The kitchen-wench very naturally takes her name from this word, a scullion; another of her titles, is in like manner derived from escouillon, the French term for the utensil called a malkin.


After the morris-dance degenerated into a piece of coarse buffoonery, and Maid Marian was personated by a clown, this once elegant Queen of May obtained the name of Malkin. To this Beaumont and Fletcher allude in Monsieur Thomas :

"Put on the shape of order and humanity,

"Or you must marry Malkyn, the May-Lady." Maux, a corruption of malkin, is a low term, still current in several counties, and always indicative of a coarse vulgar wench. STEEVENS.

8 Her richest LOCKRAM, &c.] Lockram was some kind of cheap linen. Greene, in his Vision, describing the dress of a man, says: "His ruffe was of fine lockeram, stitched very faire with Coventry blue."

Again, in The Spanish Curate of Beaumont and Fletcher, Diego says:


"I give per annum two hundred ells of lockram, "That there be no straight dealings in their linnens." Again, in Glapthorne's Wit in a Constable, 1639:


"Thou thought'st, because I did wear lockram shirts,
"I had no wit." STEEVENS.

her REECHY neck,] Reechy is greasy, sweaty. So, in

Clambering the walls to eye him: Stalls, bulks, windows,

Are smother'd up, leads fill'd, and ridges hors'd
With variable complexions; all agreeing

In earnestness to see him: seld-shown flamens 1
Do press among the popular throngs, and puff
To win a vulgar station 2: our veil'd dames
Commit the war of white and damask, in
Their nicely-gawded cheeks, to the wanton spoil

[ocr errors]

66 az

Hamlet: "a pair of reechy kisses." Laneham, speaking of "three pretty puzels in a morris-dance, says they were bright az a breast of bacon," that is, bacon hung in the chimney: and hence reechy, which in its primitive signification is smoky, came to imply greasy. RITSON.


SELD-SHOWN flamens-] i. e. priests who seldom exhibit themselves to publick view. The word is used in Humour out of Breath, a comedy, by John Day, 1607:

"O seld-seen metamorphosis."

The same adverb likewise occurs in the old play of Hieronimo : Why is not this a strange and seld-seen thing?"



Seld is often used by ancient writers for seldom. STEEVENS. —a VULGAR station :] A station among the rabble. So, in The Comedy of Errors;

"A vulgar comment will be made of it." MALONE. A vulgar station, I believe, signifies only a common standingplace, such as is distinguished by no particular convenience.


3 Commit the WAR of white and damask, in Their nicely-gawded cheeks,] Dr. Warburton, for war, absurdly reads-ware.


Has the commentator never heard of roses, contending with lilies for the empire of a lady's cheek? The opposition of colours, though not the commixture, may be called a war.

So, in Shakspeare's Tarquin and Lucrece:

"The silent war of lilies and of roses,


"Which Tarquin view'd in her fair face's field."

Again, in The Taming of the Shrew:

"Such war of white and red," &c.

Again, in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 1040: "For with the rose colour strof hire hewe."

Again, in Damætas' Madrigal in Praise of his Daphnis, by John Wootton; published in England's Helicon, 1600:

"Amidst her cheekes the rose and lilly strive."

Of Phoebus' burning kisses: such a pother,
As if that whatsoever god, who leads him,
Were slily crept into his human powers,

And gave him graceful posture.


I warrant him consul.


On the sudden,

Then our office may,

During his power, go sleep.

Sic. He cannot temperately transport his honours From where he should begin, and end"; but will Lose those that he hath won.

Again, in Massinger's Great Duke of Florence:



the lillies

Contending with the roses in her cheek." STEEVENS, Again, in our author's Venus and Adonis :

"To note the fighting conflict of her hue,

"How white and red each other did destroy." MALONE, Cleaveland introduces this, according to his quaint manner: her cheeks,


"Where roses mix: no civil war

"Between her York and Lancaster."



4 As if that whatsoever god,] That is, as if that god who leads him, whatsoever god he be. JOHNSON.

So, in our author's 26th Sonnet:

"Till whatsoever star that guides my moving,
"Points on me graciously with fair aspect."

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :

[ocr errors]

he hath fought to-day,

"As if a god in hate of mankind had
"Destroy'd in such a shape." MALONE.

5 From where he should begin, AND end;] Perhaps it should be read :

"From where he should begin t'an end. JOHNSON. Our author means, though he has expressed himself most licentiously, he cannot carry his honours temperately from where he should begin to where he should end. The word transport includes the ending as well as the beginning. He cannot begin to carry his honours, and conclude his journey, from the spot where he should begin, and to the spot where he should end. I have no doubt that the text is right.

The reading of the old copy is supported by a passage in Cym beline, where we find exactly the same phraseology:


In that there's comfort. SIC. Doubt not, the commoners, for whom we


But they, upon their ancient malice, will

Forget, with the least cause, these his new honours;
Which that he'll give them, make as little question
As he is proud to do't o.

I heard him swear,
Were he to stand for consul, never would he
Appear i' the market-place, nor on him put
The napless vesture of humility;


Nor, showing (as the manner is) his wounds
To the people, beg their stinking breaths.

'Tis right. BRU. It was his word: O, he would miss it, ra


Than carry it, but by the suit o' the gentry to him, And the desire of the nobles.

I wish no better,

Than have him hold that purpose, and to put it
In execution.



"Tis most like, he will.

the gap

“That we shall make in time, from our hence going
"And our return, to excuse.'

[ocr errors]

where the modern editors read-Till our return. MALONE. 6 As he is PROUD to do't.] Proud to do, is the same as, proud of doing. JOHNSON.

As means here, as that. MALONE.

7 The NAPLESS vesture-] The players read-the Naples-. STEEVENS.

The correction was made by Mr. Rowe. By napless Shakspeare means thread-bare. So, in King Henry VI. Part II. : "Geo. I tell thee, Jack Cade the clothier means to dress the common-wealth, and turn it, and set a new nap upon it. John. So he had need; for 'tis thread-bare."

Plutarch's words are "with a poore gowne on their backes.', See p. 86, n. 1. MALONE.

SIC. It shall be to him then, as our good wills; A sure destruction o.



So it must fall out

To him, or our authorities. For an end,

We must suggest the people, in what hatred
He still hath held them; that, to his power1, he

Have made them mules, silenc'd their pleaders, and
Dispropertied their freedoms: holding them,
In human action and capacity,

Of no more soul, nor fitness for the world,
Than camels in their war 2; who have their

vand 3


8 It shall be to him then, as our good wILLS; A sure destruction.] This should be written will's, for will is.


It should be to him of the same nature as our dispositions towards him; deadly. MALONE.

Neither Malone nor Tyrwhitt have justly explained this passage. The word-wills is here a verb; and as our 66 good wills" means, "as our advantage" requires. M. MASON.

9 SUGGEST the people,] i. e. prompt them. So, in King Richard II. :


Suggest his soon-believing adversaries."

The verb to suggest, has, in our author, many different shades of meaning. STEEVENS.

I to his power,] i. e. as far as his power goes, to the utmost of it. STEEVENS.

2 Of no more soul, nor fitness for the world,

Than camels in THEIR WAR ;] In what war? Camels are mere beasts of burthen, and are never used in war.-We should certainly read:

"As camels in their way." M. MASON.

I am far from certain that this amendment is necessary. Brụtus means to say that Coriolanus thought the people as useless expletives in the world, as camels would be in the war. I would read the instead of their. Their, however, may stand, and signify the war undertaken for the sake of the people.

Mr. M. Mason, however, is not correct in the assertion with which his note begins; for we are told by Aristotle, that shoes were put upon camels in the time of war. See Hist. Anim. ii. 6. p. 165, edit. Scaligeri. STEEVENS.

« PreviousContinue »