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Lord. 'Tis very true;-thou didst it excellent.--
1 Play. Fear not, my lord; we can contain ourselves, Were he the veriest antick in the world.
compliment to Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman Pleased, in which comedy there is the character of Soto, who is a farmer's son, and a very facetious serving-man. Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope prefix the name of Sim to the line here spoken; but the first folio has it Sincklo; which, no doubt, was the name of one of the players here introduced, and who had played the part of Soto with applause. Theobald.
As the old copy prefixes the name of Sincklo to this line, why should we displace it? Sincklo is a name elsewhere used by Shak speare. In one of the parts of King Henry VI, Humphrey and Sincklo enter with their bows, as foresters.
With this observation I was favoured by a learned lady, and have replaced the old reading. Steevens.
It is true that Soto, in the play of Woman Pleased, is a farmer's eldest son, but he does not wooe any gentlewoman; so that it may be doubted, whether that be the character alluded to. There can be little doubt that Sincklo was the name of one of the players, which has crept in, both here and in The Third Part of K. Henry VI, instead of the name of the person represented.
Again, at the conclusion of The Second Part of King Henry IV: "Enter Sincklo and three or four officers." See the quarto, 1600. Tyrwhitt.
If Soto were the character alluded to, the compliment would be to the person who played the part, not to the author.
Sincklo or Sinkler, was certainly an actor in the same company with Shakspeare, &c.-He is introduced together with Burbage, Condell, Lowin, &c. in the Induction to Marston's Malcontent, 1604, and was also a performer in the entertainment entitled The Seven Deadlie Sinns. Malone.
in the world.] Here follows another insertion made by Mr. Pope from the old play. These words are not in the folio, 1623. I have therefore degraded them, as we have no proof at the first sketch of the piece was written by Shakspeare:
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery,'
"San. [to the other.] Go, get a dishclout to make cleane your shooes, and Ile speak for the properties.* [Exit Player. "My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a propertie, and a little vinegre to make our diuel rore."+
The shoulder of mutton might indeed be necessary afterwards for the dinner of Petruchio, but there is no devil in this piece, or in the original on which Shakspeare formed it; neither was it yet determined what comedy should be represented. Steevens.
Property] in the language of a playhouse, is every implement necessary to the exhibition. Johnson.
+ a little vinegre to make our diuel rore.] When the acting the mysteries of the Old and New Testament was in vogue at the representation of the mystery of the Passion, Judas and the Devil made a part. And the Devil, wherever he came, was always to suffer some disgrace, to make the people laugh: as here, the buffoonery was to apply the gall and vinegar to make him roar. And the Passion being that, of all the mysteries, which was most frequently represented, vinegar became at length the standing implement to torment the Devil; and was used for this purpose even after the mysteries ceased, and the moralities came in vogue; where the Devil continued to have a considerable part. The mention of it here, was to ridicule so absurd a circumstance in these old farces. Warburton.
All that Dr. Warburton has said relative to Judas and the vinegar, wants confirmation. I have met with no such circumstances in any mysteries, whether in MS. or in print; and yet both the Chester and Coventry collections are preserved in the British Museum. See MS. Harl. 2013, and Cotton MS. Vespasian D. viii.
Perhaps, however, some entertainments of a farcical kind might have been introduced between the Acts. Between the divisions of one of the Chester Mysteries, I met with this mar ginal direction: Here the Boy and Pig; and perhaps the Devil in the intervals of this first comedy of The Taming of the Shrew, might be tormented for the entertainment of the audience; or, according to a custom observed in some of our ancient puppetshows, might beat his wife with a shoulder of mutton. In the preface to Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, the Printer says:
"I have (purposelie) omitted and left out some fond and frivolous jestures, digressing (and in my poore opinion) farre unmeete for the matter, which I thought might seeme more tedious unto the wise, than any way els to be regarded, though (happly) they have bene of some vaine conceited fondlings greatly gaped at, what time they were showed upon the stage in their graced deformities: neverthelesse now to be mixtured in print with such matter of worth, it would prove a great disgrace," &c. The bladder of vinegar was, however, used for other purposes.
And give them friendly welcome every one:
take them to the buttery,] Mr. Pope had probably these words in his thoughts, when he wrote the following passage of his preface: " the top of the profession were then mere players, not gentlemen of the stage; they were led into the buttery by the steward, not placed at the lord's table, or the lady's toilette." But he seems not to have observed, that the players here introduced are strollers; and there is no reason to suppose that our author, Heminge, Burbage, Condell, &c. who were licensed by King James, were treated in this manner. Malone.
At the period when this comedy was written, and for many years after, the profession of a player was scarcely allowed to be reputable. The imagined dignity of those who did not belong to itinerant companies, is, therefore, unworthy consideration. I can as easily believe that the blundering editors of the first folio were suffered to lean their hands on Queen Elizabeth's chair of state, as that they were admitted to the table of the Earl of Leicester, or the toilette of Lady Hunsdon. Like Stephen in
I meet with the following stage direction in the old play of Cambyses, (by T. Preston) when one of the characters is supposed to die from the wounds he had just received: Here let a small bladder of vinegar be pricked. I suppose to counterfeit blood: redwine vinegar was chiefly used, as appears from the ancient books of cookery.
In the ancient Tragedy, or rather Morality, called All for Money, by T. Lupton, 1578, Sin says,
"I knew I would make him soon change his note,
"I will make him sing the Black Sanctus, I hold him a groat."
"Here Satan shall cry and roar."
Again, a little after:
"Here he roareth and crieth."
Of the kind of wit current through these productions, a better specimen can hardly be found than the following:
"Satan. Whatever thou wilt have, I will not thee denie.
"For if I had a piece thereof, I do verely believe
"For I am combred with collike and letting out of winde:
"Then I would be so bold to borrowe your face."
Such were the entertainments, of which our maiden Queen sat a spectatress in the earlier part of her reign. Steevens.
Let them want nothing that my house affords.—
[To a Serv.
[Exeunt Serv. and Players. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page, And see him dress'd in all suits like a lady: That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber, And call him-madam, do him obeisance. Tell him from me, (as he will win my love) He bear himself with honourable action, Such as he hath observ'd in noble ladies Unto their lords, by them accomplished: Such duty to the drunkard let him do, With soft low tongue, and lowly courtesy; And say,-What is 't your honour will command, Wherein your lady, and your humble wife, May show her duty, and make known her love? And then-with kind embracements, tempting kisses, And with declining head into his bosom,— Bid him shed tears, as being overjoy'd
To see her noble lord restor❜d to health,
Who, for twice seven years, hath esteemed him
Every Man in his Humour, the greatest indulgence our histrionic leaders could have expected, would have been "a trencher and a napkin in the buttery." Steevens.
1 With soft low tongue,] So, in King Lear:
Her voice was ever soft,
"Gentle and low; an excellent thing in woman."
2 Who, for twice seven years, &c.] In former editions: Who for this seven years hath esteemed him
No better than a poor and loathsome beggar.
I have ventured to alter a word here, against the authority of the printed copies; and hope, I shall be justified in it by two subsequent passages. That the poet designed the tinker's supposed lunacy should be of fourteen years standing at least, is evident upon two parallel passages in the play to that purpose. Theobald. The remark is just, but perhaps the alteration may be thought unnecessary by those who recollect that our author rarely reckons time with any great correctness. Both Falstaff and Orlando forget the true hour of their appointments. Steevens.
In both these passages the term mentioned is fifteen, not fourteen years. The servants may well be supposed to forget the precise period dictated to them by their master, or, as is the custom of such persons, to aggravate what they have heard. There is, therefore, in my opinion, no need of change. Malone.
And if the boy have not a woman's gift,
I know, the boy will well usurp the grace,
I long to hear him call the drunkard, husband;
And how my men will stay themselves from laughter,
May well abate the over-merry spleen,
Which otherwise would grow into extremes. [Exeunt.
A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.
Sly is discovered in a rich night gown, with Attendants; some with apparel, others with bason, ewer, and other appurtenances. Enter Lord, dressed like a Servant. Sly. For God's sake a pot of small ale.
hath esteemed him-] This is an error of the press :—
should read himself, instead of him. M. Mason.
Him is used instead of himself, as you is used for yourselves in Macbeth:
"Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time." i. e. acquaint yourselves.
Again, in Ovid's Banquet of Sence, by Chapman, 1595: "Sweet touch, the engine that love's bow doth bend, "The sence wherewith he feeles him deified." Steevens.
3 An onion-] It is not unlikely that the onion was an expedient used by the actors of interludes. Johnson.
So, in Antony and Cleopatra: "The tears live in an onion that should water this sorrow." Steevens.
4 A Bedchamber &c.] From the original stage direction in the first folio it appears that Sly and the other persons mentioned in the Induction, were intended to be exhibited here, and during the representation of the comedy, in a balcony above the stage. The direction here is-Enter aloft the drunkard with attendants, &c. So afterwards, at the end of this scene-The Presenters above speak. Malone.
5 Sly is discovered &c.] Thus in the original play: