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Ang. See that Claudio
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Oficers, &c. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away.
Ang. How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's conftable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, fir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors? Well; wliat benefactors are they? Are they not malefactors ?
2 Some rise &c.] This line is in the first folio printed in Italicks, as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line :
Some run from brakes of ice, and answer nore. JOHNSON., A brake anciently meant not only a sharp bir, a fnafle, but also the engine with which farriers confined the legs of such unruly horses as would not otherwise submit themselves to be shod, or to have a cruel operation performed on them. This in some places is still called a smith's brake. I likewise find from Holinshed, p. 670, that the brake was an engine of torture. It was called the duke of Exeter's daughter. See Blackstone's COMMENT. IV, 320, 321.
If Shakspeare alluded here to this engine, the sense of this pariage will be: Some run more i ban once from. engines of punishment, and answer no interrogatories; while some are condemned to suffer for a single trespass.
A yet plainer meaning may be deduced from the same words. A brake meant a buih. By brakes of vice, therefore, may be meant a collection, a number, a thicket of vices.
Mr. Tollet is of opinion that, by brakes of vice, Shakspeare means only the thorny paibs of vice. STEEVENS.
I am not satisfied with either the old or present reading of this very difficult passage; yet have nothing better to propose. The modern reading, vice, was introduced by Mr.Rowe. In K. Henry VIII, we have
“ 'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well 3 ; here's a wise officer.
Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow+ ?
Clown. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
Elb. He, fir? a tapfter, fir; parcel-bawd'; one that
that! Elb. My wife, fir, whom I deteit? before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife?
Eib. Ay, fir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman;
Ejcal. Dost thou deteft her therefore?
Elb. I say, fir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
3 This comes off well;] This is nimbly spoken ; this is volubly uttered. JOHNSON.
The lame phrase is employed in Timon of Atbens, and elsewhere; but in the present instance it is used ironically. The meaning of it, when seriously applied to speech, is- This is well delivered, this story is well told. STEEVENS.
4 Wby doft tbou net speak, Elbow?] Says Angelo to the constable. « He cannot, fir, quoth the Clown, he's out at eibow." I know not whether this quibble be generally observed : he is out at the word elbow, and out at the elbow of his coat. The Conftable, in his account of master Froib and the Clown, has a stroke at the puritans, who were very zealous against the stage about this time. “ Precise villains they
are, that am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that " good Christians ought to have." FARMER.
$-a zapfter, fir; parcel-bawd;] This we should now express by Saying, be is half-tapster, half bawd. JOHNS
Thus in K. Henry IV : “ a jarcel-gilt gobler." STEEVENS.
6 ----jhe profefes a boe-bouje;] A bor boufe is an English name for a burnic. JOHN 3 ---W bom I detet-] He means protest. MALONE.
Escal. How doft thou know that, constable?
Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife ; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness there.
Escal. By the woman's means ?
Elb. Ay, fir, by mistress Over-done's means : but as the spit in his face, so she defy'd him.
Clown. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not fo.
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.
Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ? (To Angelo.
Clown. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes o, fir, we had but two in the house, which at that
distant time ' stood, as it were, in a fruit-dih, a dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, fir.
Clown. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but to the point: as I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great belly’d, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in the dith, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly; for, as you know, master Froth, I could not give you three pence again:
Froth. No, indeed.
Clown. Very well: you being then, if you be remember’d, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes;
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Clown. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were
8 Ay, fir, ły mifrefs Over-done's means :] Here seems to have been some mention made of Froth, who was to be accused, and fome words therefore may have been lost, unless the irregularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the ignorance of the constable. JOHNS.
9 --ftew'd prunes ;] Stewed prunes were to be found in every brothel. See a note on the 3d scene of the 3d act of the First Part of King Henry IV. In the old copy prunes are spelt, according to vulgar pronunciation, prewyns. STEEVENS. -t that very distant rime) He means instant. Malone.
past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good dict, as I told you ;
Froth. All this is true.
Clown. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
Clown. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave : And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, fir; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father dy'd at Hallowmas :—Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth?
Froth. All-hallond eve.
Clown. Why, very well; I hope here be truths : He, fir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, a fir;—'twas in The Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to fit, Have you not ?
Froth. I have fo; because it is an open room, and good for winter.
Clown. Why, very well then ;-I hope here be truths. Ang. This will last out a night in Ruflia, When nights are longest there : I'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause ; Hoping, you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less: Good morrow to your lordship.
[Èxit ANGELO. Now, fir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more ?
Clown. Once, fir? there was nothing done to her once. Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to
'Clown. I beseech your honour, ask me. Escal. Well, fir; What did this gentleman to her ? Clown. I beseech you, fir, look in this gentleman's
in a lower chair,] One of the editors, plausibly enough, proposes to read-in a lower cbamber, which derives some support from the subsequent words where, indeed, you have a delight to fit.” But the old reading is intelligible, and therefore should not be changed. A lower chair is a chair lower than crdinary. MALONE. 5
face :-Good master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose : Doth your honour mark his face?
Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
your honour see any harm in his face? Escal. Why, no.
Clown. I'll be supposed 3 upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him: Good then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour?
Escal. He's in the right: constable, what say you to it?
Élb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house ; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
Clown. By this hand, fir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou lieft; thou lieit, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
Clown. Sir, she was respected with him before he marry'd with her.
Escal. Which is the wiser here? Justice, or Iniquity 4Is this true ?
Eib. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal 5! I respected with her, before I was marry'd to her? If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer :Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
Escal. If he took you a box of the ear, you might have your action of ilander too.
3 I'll be supposed-] He means deposed. MALONE.
4. Juftice, or Iniquiry? ] Elbow, the officer of justice, or Pompey, the intrument of vice? MALONE.
Justice and Iniquity were, I suppose, two personages well known to the audience by their frequent appearance in the old moralities. The words, therefore, at that time produced a combination of ideas, which they have now loft. Johnson. $ ---Hannibal,] Mistaken by the constable for Cannibal. JOHNSON.