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S. Dro. A very reverend body; ay, such a one as a man may not speak of, without he say, fir reverence: I have but lean luck in the match ; and yet is lhe a wond'rous fat marriage.
S. Ant. How dost thou mean, a fat marriage ? S. Dro. Marry, sir, she's the kitchen-wench, and all grease : and I know not what use to put her to, but to make a lamp of her, and run from her by her own light. I warrant, her rags, and the callow in them, will burn a Poland winter : if she lives 'till doomsday, she'll burn a week longer than the whole world.
S. Ant. What complexion is she of?
S. Dro. Swart, like my shoe, but her face nothing like fo clean kept: For why ? fhe sweats, a man may go over shoes in the grime of ito
S. Ant. That's a fault that water will mend.
S. Dro. No, fir, 'tis in grain ; Noah's food could not do it.
S. Ant. 4 What's her name?
S. Dro. Nell, fir;—but her name and three quarters (that is, an ell and three quarters,) will not measure her from hip to hip.
S. Ant. Then she bears some breadth ?
S. Dro. No longer from head to foot, than from hip to hip : she is spherical, like a globe; I could find out countries in her.
S. Ant. In what part of her body stands Ireland ?
4 S. Ant. What's ber name? S. Dro. Nell, fir; but her name is three quarters; that is, an ell and three quarters, &c.] This paffage has hitherto lain as perplexed and unintelligible, as it is now caly, and truly humourous. If a conundrum be restored, in setting it right, who can help it ? There are enough besides in our author, and Ben Jonson, to countenance that current vice of the times when this play appear’d. Nor is Mr. Pope, in the cbaftiny of his taste, to bristle up at me for the revival of this witticism, since I owe the correction to the fagacity of the ingenious Dr. Thirlby.
S: Dro. Marry, sir, in her buttocks; I found it out by the bogs.
S. Ant. Where Scotland ?
S. Dro. I found it out by the barrenness, hard in the palm of her hand. S. Ant. 5 Where France ?
S. Dra. 5 S. Ant. Where France ?
S. Dro. In her forehead, arm'd and revertid, making war again ber hair.] All the other countries, mentioned in this description, are in Dromio's replies satirically characterized : but here, as the editors have ordered it, no remark is made upon France ; nor any reason given, why it should be in her forehead : but only the kitchen-wench's high forehead is rallied, as pushing back her bair. Thus all the modern editions; but the first folio reads-making war against her heir.And I am very apt to think, this last is the true reading; and that an equivoqué, as the French call it, a double meaning, is designed in the poet's allusion : and therefore I have replaced it in the text. In 1589, Henry III. of France being stabb’d, and dying of his wound, was succeeded by Henry IV. of Navarre, whom he appointed his successor: but whose claim the faces of France refilted, on account of his being a protestant. This, I take it, is what he means, by France making war against her beir. Now as, in 1591, queen Elizabeth sent over 4000 men, under the conduct of the earl of Essex, to the affiftance of this Henry of Navarre ; it seems to me very probable, that during this expedition being on foot, this comedy made its appearance. And it was the finest address imaginable in the poet to throw such an oblique sneer at France, for oppofing the succession of that heir, whose claim his royal mistress, the queen, had sent over a force to establish, and oblige them to acknowledge, THEOBALD.
With this correction and explication Dr. Warburton concurs, and fir T. Hanmer thinks an equivocation intended, though he re. tains bair in the text. Yet surely they have all lost the sense by looking beyond it. Our authour, in my opinion, only sports with an allusion, in which he takes too much delight, and means that his mistress had the French disease. The ideas are rather too offensive to be dilated. By a forehead armed, he means covered with incrusted eruptions : by rev?rted, he means having the hair turning backward. An equivocal word must have senses applicable to both the subjects to which it is applied. Both forebead and France might in some sort make war against their hair, but how did the forehead make war against its heir ? The sense which I have given immediately occurred to me, and will, I believe,
S. Dro. In her forehead; arm'd and reverted, making war against her hair. S. Ant. Where England ?
S. Dro. I look'd for the chalky cliffs, but I could find no whiteness in them : but I guess it stood in her chin, by the salt rheum that ran between France and it.
S. Ant. Where Spain ?
S. Dro. Faith, I saw it not; but I felt it hot in her breath.
S. Ant. Where America, the Indies?
S. Dro. Oh, fir, upon her nose, all o'er embellish'd with rubies, carbuncles, sapphires : declining their rich aspect to the hot breath of Spain, who sent whole armadoes of carracks to be ballasted at her nose.
S. Ant. Where stood Belgia, the Netherlands ?
S. Dro. Oh, sir, I did not look so low. To conclude, this drudge, or diviner, laid claim to me; callid me Dromio, swore, I was assur'd to her ; told me what privy marks I had about me, as the marks of my shoulder, the mole in my neck, the great wart on my left arm, that I, amaz’d, ran from her as a witch: • And, I think, if my breast had not been made of faith, and my heart of steel, she had transform’d me to a curtail-dog, and made me turn i'the wheel.
S. Ant. Go, hie thee presently; post to the road : And if the wind blow any way from shore, arise to every reader who is contented with the meaning that lies before him, without sending our conjecture in search of refinements. JOHNSON.
And, I think, if my breast bad not been made of faith, &c.] Alluding to the fuperftition of the common people, that nothing could relift a witch's power, of transforming men into animals, but a great share of faith: however the Oxford editor thinks brat made of fint, better security, and has therefore put it in.
I will not harbour in this town to-night.
S. Dro. As from a bear a man would run for life, So fly I from her that would be my wife. [Exit.
s. Ant. There's none but witches do inhabit here;
Enter Angelo, with a chain.
Ang. I know it well, fir: Lo, here is the chain;
S. Ant. What is your will, that I shall do with this? Ang. What please yourself, fir; I have made it for
you, S. Ant. Made it for me, sir! I bespoke it not. Ang. Not once, nor twice, but twenty times you
-at the Porcupine ;] It is remarkable, that all over the ancient editions of Shakespeare's plays, (both in the folio and quartos) the word Porpentine is used inftead of Porcupine. Perhaps it was so written at that time. Steevens.
S. Ant. I pray you, sir, receive the money now, For fear you ne'er fee chain nor money more. Ang. You are a merry man, fir : fare
[Exii. S. Ant. What I Thould think of this, I cannot tell : But this I think, there's no man is so vain, That would refuse so fair an offer'd chain, I see, a man here needs not live by shifts, When in the streets he meets such golden gifts, I'll to the mart, and there for Dromio stay; If any ship put out, then strait away. [Exit.
A C T IV.
Enter a Mercbant, Angelo, and an Officer.
OU know, fince Pentecost the sum is due,
And since I have not much importun'd you; Nor now I had not, but that I ain bound To Persia, and want gilders for my voyage: Therefore make present satisfaction ; Or I'll attach you by this officer.
Ang. Even just the sum, that I do owe to you, Is growing to me by Antipholis: And, in the instant that I met with you, He had of me a chain ; at five o'clock, I shall receive the money for the same : Please
but walk with me down to his house, I will discharge iny bond, and thank you too.