Imatges de pÓgina

BARD. You Banbury cheese'! SLEN. Ay, it is no matter. PIST. How now, Mephostophilus"? SLEN. Ay, it is no matter. NYм. Slice, I say! pauca, pauca"; slice! that's my humour.

5 You BANBURY cheese!] This is said in allusion to the thin carcase of Slender. The same thought occurs in Jack Drum's Entertainment, 1601: "Put off your cloathes, and you are like a Banbury cheese,-nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams:

"I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough,
"But I have oft seen Essex cheese quick enough."


"How now, MEPHOSTOPHILUS?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar, in the old story book of Sir John Faustus, or John Faust: to whom our author afterwards alludes, Act II. Sc. II. That it was a cant phrase of abuse, appears from the old comedy cited above, called A Pleasant Comedy of the Gentle Craft, Signat. H 3. "Away you Islington whitepot; hence you hopperarse, you barley-pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado: avaunt, avaunt, Mephostophilus." In the same vein, Bardolph here also calls Slender, "You Banbury cheese." T. WARTON. Pistol means to calls Slender a very ugly fellow. So, in Nosce te, (Humours) by Richard Turner, 1607:

"O face, no face hath our Theophilus,
"But the right forme of Mephostophilus.

"I know 'twould serve, and yet I am no wizard, "To play the Devil i'the vault without a vizard." Again, in The Muses Looking Glass, 1638: "We want not you to play Mephostophilus. A pretty natural vizard!"


7 Slice, I say! PAUCA, PAUCA;] Dr. Farmer (see a former note, p. 10, n. 8,) would transfer the Latin words to Evans. But the old copy, I think, is right, Pistol, in King Henry V. uses the same language:


I will hold the quondam Quickly

"For the only she; and pauca, there's enough."

In the same scene Nym twice uses the word solus. MALONE. that's my humour.] So, in an ancient MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:


I love not to disquiet ghosts, sir, "Of any people living; that's my humour, sir.” See a following note, Act II. Sc. I. STEEVENS.

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SLEN. Where's Simple, my man ?-can you tell, cousin ?

EVA. Peace: I pray you. Now let us understand: There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand that is-master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.

PAGE. We three, to hear it, and end it between them.

EVA. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note-book; and we will afterwards 'orke upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.

FAL. Pistol,

PIST. He hears with ears.

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EVA. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this", He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.

FAL. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse? SLEN. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else,) of seven groats in mill-sixpences', and two Edward shovel-boards 2, that cost me two shil

9 - what phrase is this, &c.] Sir Hugh is justified in his censure of this passage by Peacham, who in his Garden of Eloquence, 1577, places this very mode of expression under the article Pleonasmus. HENDERSON.

1-mill-SIXPENCES,] It appears from a passage in Sir William Davenant's Newes from Plimouth, that these mill-sixpences were used by way of counters to cast up money:


A few mill'd sixpences, with which
My purser casts accompt." STEEVENS.


Edward SHOVEL-BOARDS,] One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611: away slid I my man, like a shovel-board shilling," &c.



STEEVENS. "Edward shovel-boards," were the broad shillings of Edward VI. -Taylor, the water-poet, in his Trauel of Twelve-pence, makes him complain :

" With

the unthrift every day


face downwards do at shoave-board play;

ling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

FAL. Is this true, Pistol?

EVA. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse.

PIST. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner!-Sir John and master mine,

I combat challenge of this latten bilbo3:

"That had I had a beard, you may suppose,

"They had worne it off, as they have done my nose.” And in a note he tells us : "Edw. shillings for the most part are used at shoave-board." FARMER.

In the Second Part of King Henry IV. Falstaff says, "Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling." This confirms Farmer's opinion, that pieces of coin were used for that purpose. M. MASON.

The following extract, for the notice of which I am indebted to Dr. Farmer, will ascertain the species of coin mentioned in the text. "I must here take notice before I entirely quit the subject of these last-mentioned shillings, that I have also seen some other pieces of good silver, greatly resembling the same, and of the same date, 1547, that have been so much thicker as to weigh about half an ounce, together with some others that have weighed an ounce. Folkes's Table of English Silver Coins, p. 32. The former of these were probably what cost Master Slender two shillings and two pence a-piece. REED.

It appears, that the game of shovel-board was played with the shillings of Edward VI. in Shadwell's time; for in his Miser, Act III. Sc. I. Cheatly says, "She persuaded him to play with hazard at backgammon, and he has already lost his Edward shillings that he kept for shovel-board, and was pulling out broad pieces (that have not seen the sun these many years) when I came away.”

In Shadwell's Lancashire Witches, vol. iii. p. 232, the game is called shuffle-board. It is still played; and I lately heard a man ask another to go into an alehouse in the Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, to play at it. DOUCE.


That Slender means the broad shilling of one of our kings, appears from comparing these words with the corresponding passage in the old quarto: Ay by this handkerchief did he ;-two faire shovel-board shillings, besides seven groats in mill-sixpences." How twenty-eight pence could be lost in mill-sixpences, Slender, however, has not explained to us. MALONE.

3 I combat challenge of this LATTEN bilbo :] Pistol, seeing Slender such a slim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as

Word of denial in thy labras here *;
Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest.

SLEN. By these gloves, then 'twas he.
NYM. Be avised, sir, and pass good humours: I

thin as a plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which was, as we are told, the old orichalc. THEOBALD. Latten is a mixed metal, made of copper and calamine.

MALONE. The sarcasm intended is, that Slender had neither courage nor strength, as a latten sword has neither edge nor substance.


Latten may signify no more than as thin as a lath. The word in some counties is still pronounced as if there was no h in it: and Ray, in his Dictionary of North Country Words, affirms it to be spelt lat in the North of England.

Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out of his kingdom with a dagger of lath. A latten bilboe means therefore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath—a vice's dagger.


Theobald, however, is right in his assertion that latten was a metal. So Turbervile, in his book of Falconry, 1575: “ • you must set her a latten bason, or a vessel of stone or earth." Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600: "Whether it were lead or latten that hasp'd down those winking casements, I know not.” Again, in the old metrical Romance of Syr Bevis of Hampton, bl. 1. no date:

"Windowes of latin were set with glasse."

Latten is still a common word for tin in the North. STEEvens. I believe Theobald has given the true sense of latten, though he is wrong in supposing, that the allusion is to Slender's thinness. It is rather to his softness or weakness. TYRWHITT.

4 Word of denial in THY labras HERE;] I suppose it should rather be read:


"Word of denial in my labras hear ;' That is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou ly'st.


We often talk of giving the lie in a man's teeth, or in his throat. Pistol chooses to throw the word of denial in the lips of his adversary, and is supposed to point to them as he speaks.



There are few words in the old copies more frequently misprinted than the word hear. Thy labras," however, is certainly right, as appears from the old quarto: “I do retort the lie even in thy gorge, thy gorge, thy gorge." MALONE.


will say, marry traps, with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.

SLEN. By this hat, then he in the red face had it for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

FAL. What say you, Scarlet and John'?

BARD. Why, sir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences. EVA. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is!

BARD. And being fap, sir, was, as they say, cashier'd; and so conclusions pass'd the careires 9.


marry trap,] When a man was caught in his own stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was-marry, trap! JOHNSON.


NUTHOOK'S humour-] Nuthook is the reading of the folio. The quarto reads, base humour.

If you run the nuthook's humour on me, is, in plain English, if you say I am a thief. Enough is said on the subject of hooking moveables out at windows, in a note on King Henry IV.


7- Scarlet and John ?] The names of two of Robin Hood's companions; but the humour consists in the allusion to Bardolph's red face; concerning which, see The Second Part of Henry IV. WARBURTON.

8 And being FAP,] I know not the exact meaning of this cant word, neither have I met with it in any of our old dramatic pieces, which have often proved the best comments on Shakspeare's vulgarisms.

Dr. Farmer, indeed, observes, that to fib is to beat; so that being fap may mean being beaten; and cashiered, turned out of company. STEEVENS

The word fap is probably made from vappa, a drunken fellow, or a good-for-nothing fellow, whose virtues are all exhaled. Slender, in his answer, seems to understand that Bardolph had made use of a Latin word: "Ay, you spake in Latin then too;" as Pistol had just before. S. W.

It is not probable that any cant term is from the Latin; nor that the word in question was so derived, because Slender mistook it for Latin. The mistake, indeed, is an argument to the con

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