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Grumio! and my good friend Petruchio!-How do you all at Verona?
Pet. Signior Hortensio, come you to part the fray? Con tutto il core bene trovato, may I say.
Hor. Alla nostra casa bene venuto,
Molto honorato signor mio Petruchio.
Rise, Grumio, rise; we will compound this quarrel.
Gru. Nay, 'tis no matter, what he 'leges in Latin.3— If this be not a lawful cause for me to leave his service, -Look you, sir,—he bid me knock him, and rap him soundly, sir: Well, was it fit for a servant to use his master so; being, perhaps, (for aught I see) two and thirty, a pip out?4
Whom, 'would to God, I had well knock'd at first,
Pet. A senseless villain!-Good Hortensio,
I bade the rascal knock upon your gate,
Spake you not these words plain,—Sirrah, knock me here,
what he 'leges in Latin.] i. e. I suppose, what he alleges in Latin. Petruchio has been just speaking Italian to Hortensio, which Grumio mistakes for the other language. Steevens.
I cannot help suspecting that we should read-Nay, 'tis no matter what be leges in Latin, if this be not a lawful cause for me to leave his service. Look you, sir.-' -That is, 'Tis no matter what is law, if this be not a lawful cause," &c. Tyrwhitt.
Tyrwhitt's amendment and explanation of this passage is evidently right. Mr. Steevens appears to have been a little absent when he wrote his note on it. He forgot that Italian was Grumio's native language, and that therefore he could not possibly mistake it for Latin. M. Mason.
I am grateful to Mr. M. Mason for his hint, which may prove beneficial to me on some future occasion, though at the present moment it will not operate so forcibly as to change my opinion. I was well aware that Italian was Grumio's native language, but was not, nor am now, certain of our author's attention to this circumstance, because his Italians necessarily speak English throughout the play, with the exception of a few colloquial sentences. So little regard does our author pay to petty proprieties, that as often as Signior, the Italian appellation, does not occur to him, or suit the measure of his verse, he gives us in its room, "Sir Vincentio," and "Sir Lucentio." Steevens.
a pip out?] The old copy has-peepe. Corrected by Mr. Malone.
Rap me here, knock me well, and knock me soundly 25
Pet. Sirrah, be gone, or talk not, I advise you.
Pet. Such wind as scatters young men through the world,
To seek their fortunes further than at home,
And I have thrust myself into this maze,
Haply to wive, and thrive, as best I may:
Hor. Petruchio, shall I then come roundly to thee,
Pet. Signior Hortensio, 'twixt such friends as we, Few words suffice: and, therefore, if thou know One rich enough to be Petruchio's wife,
(As wealth is burthen of my wooing dance)
knock me soundly?] Shakspeare seems to design a ridicule on this clipped and ungrammatical phraseology; which yet he has introduced in Othello:
"I pray talk me of Cassio."
It occurs again, and more improperly, in heroic translation: upon advantage spide,
"Did wound me Molphey on the leg," &c.
Arthur Golding's Ovid, B. V, p. 66, b. Steevens.
Why, this a heavy chance &c.] I should read:
7 Where small experience grows. But in a few,] In a few, means the same as in short, in few words.
So, in King Henry IV, Part II:
"In few-his death, whose spirit lent a fire, &c.
Be she as foul as was Florentius' love,9
As old as Sybil, and as curst and shrewd
3 (As wealth is burthen of my wooing dance)] The burthen of a dance is an expression which I have never heard; the burthen of his wooing song had been more proper. Johnson.
9 Be she as foul as was Florentius' love,] I suppose this alludes to the story of a Florentine, which is met with in the eleventh Book of Thomas Lupton's Thousand Notable Things, and perhaps
in other collections:
"39. A Florentine young gentleman was so deceived by the lustre and orientness of her jewels, pearls, rings, lawns, scarfes, laces, gold spangles, and other gaudy devices, that he was ravished overnight, and was mad till the marriage was solemnized. But next morning by light viewing her before she was so gorgeously trim'd up, she was such a leane, yellow, riveled, deformed creature, that he never lay with her, nor lived with her afterwards; and would say that he had married himself to a stinking house of office, painted over, and set out with fine garments: and so for grief consumed away in melancholy, and at last poysoned himself. Gomesius, Lib. 3, de Sal. Gen. cap. 22." Farmer,
The allusion is to a story told by Gower in the first Book De Confessione Amantis. Florent is the name of a knight who had bound himself to marry a deformed hag, provided she taught him the solution of a riddle on which his life depended. The following is the description of her:
"Florent his wofull heed up lifte,
"And saw this vecke, where that she sit,
"That ever man caste on his eye:
"Hir nose baas, hir browes hie,
Hangyng downe unto the chyn;
"Hir necke is shorte, hir shulders courbe,
"That might a mans luste distourbe:
"And shortly to descrive hir all,
"She hath no lith without a lacke,
"But like unto the woll sacke:" &c.
'Though she be the fouleste of all," &c.
This story might have been borrowed by Gower from an older narrative in the Gesta Romanorum. See the Introductory Discourse to The Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition, Vol. IV, p. 153. Steevens.
As Socrates' Xantippe, or a worse,
She moves me not, or not removes, at least,
I come to wive it wealthily in Padua;
Gru. Nay, look you, sir, he tells you flatly what his mind is: Why, give him gold enough and marry him to a puppet, or an aglet-baby;2 or an old trot with ne'er a tooth in her head, though she have as many diseases as two and fifty horses: why, nothing comes amiss, so money comes withal.
Hor. Petruchio, since we have stepp'd thus far in, I will continue that I broach'd in jest.
I can, Petruchio, help thee to a wife
With wealth enough, and young, and beauteous;
And shrewd, and froward; so beyond all measure,
1 ·were she as rough] The old copy reads-were she is as rough. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone. aglet-baby;] i. e. a diminutive being, not exceeding in size the tag of a point.
So, in Feronimo, 1605:
"And all those stars that gaze upon her face,
"Are aglets on her sleeve-pins and her train." Steevens. An aglet-baby was a small image or head cut on the tag of a point, or lace. That such figures were sometimes appended to them, Dr. Warburton has proved, by a passage in Mezeray, the French historian:-"portant meme sur les aiguillettes [points] des petites tetes de mort." Malone.
3 - as many diseases as two and fifty horses:] I suspect this passage to be corrupt, though I know not how to rectify it.-The fifty diseases of a horse seem to have been proverbial. So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608: "O stumbling jade! the spavin o'ertake thee! the fifty diseases stop thee!" Malone.
(and that is faults enough)] And that one is itself a host of faults. The editor of the second folio, who has been copied by all the subsequent editors, unnecessarily reads—and that is fault enough. Malone.
shrewd,] Here means, having the qualities of a shrew. The adjective is now used only in the sense of acute, intelligent.
That, were my state far worser than it is,
Pet. Hortensio, peace; thou know'st not gold's effect:
Tell me her father's name, and 'tis enough;
An affable and courteous gentleman:
Renown'd in Padua for her scolding tongue.
Gru. I pray you, sir, let him go while the humour lasts. O' my word, an she knew him as well as I do, she would think scolding would do little good upon him: She may, perhaps, call him half a score knaves, or so: why, that 's nothing; an he begin once, he 'll rail in his rope-tricks. I'll tell you what, sir,-an she stand him
I believe shrewd only signifies bitter, severe. So, in As you Like it, sc. ult:
"That have endur'd shrewd days and nights with us." Steevens.
an he begin once, he 'll rail in his rope-tricks.] This is obscure. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads-he'll rail in his rhetorick; I'll tell you, &c. Rhetorick agrees very well with figure in the succeeding part of the speech, yet I am inclined to believe that rope-tricks is the true word. Johnson.
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakspeare uses ropery for roguery, and therefore certainly wrote rope-tricks.
Rope-tricks we may suppose to mean tricks of which the contriver would deserve the rope. Steevens.
Rope-tricks is certainly right.-Ropery or rope-tricks originally signified abusive language, without any determinate idea; such language as parrots are taught to speak. So, in Hudibras: "Could tell what subt'lest parrots mean, "That speak, and think contrary clean; "What member 'tis of whom they talk,
"When they cry rope, and walk, knave walk."
The following passage in Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique, 1553, shews that this was the meaning of the term: "Another good VOL. VI.