Imágenes de páginas

to pay you with this; which, if like an ill venture it
come unluckily home, I break, and you, my gentle
creditors, lose. Here I promised you I would be,
and here I commit my body to your mercies: bate
me some, and I will pay you some, and, as most 15
debtors do, promise you infinitely.

If my tongue cannot entreat you to acquit me, will you

command me to use my legs? and yet that were but
light payment, to dance out of your debt. But a
good conscience will make any possible satisfaction,
and so would I. All the gentlewomen here have
forgiven me if the gentlemen will not, then the
gentlemen do not agree with the gentlewomen, which
was never seen before in such an assembly.


One word more, I beseech you. If you be not too 25 much cloyed with fat meat, our humble author will

16. infinitely.] infinitely: and so I kneele downe before you; but indeed, to pray for the Queene. Q. 21. would] will Ff. 22. forgiven] forgotten

Ff 2-4.

22. gentlemen will] Genilewomen will F 2; Gentlewomen will Ff 3, 4. 24. before] om. Q.

right true debtor." Jonson records his
opinion on the value of such promises
in Cynthia's Revels, Epil. :
"To pro-
mise better at the next we bring Pro-
rogues disgrace, commends not any-

tongues." Use my legs, dance nimbly, as in Lyly, Sapho and Phao, II. iv: "Can you sing, shew your cunning; can you daunce, vse your legges."

21, 24. All . . . assembly] So Rosalind, peals first to the women for a verdict in in the Epilogue to As You Like It, apfavour of the play, and then to the men

11. like... venture] An allusion to the ship or cargo of the merchant venturer, which miscarries on the home-for ward voyage, or which proves, on arriving home, to have incurred a financial loss.

14, 15. bate me some] let me off some portion of the debt. For " bate," cf. Jonson, The Devil is an Ass, 11. i: “I will not bate a Harrington of the sum. 17, 18. will... legs] Cf. Dekker, Satiro-mastix, Epilogue: "Are you pleas'd? and Ile dance Friskin for ioy, but if you be not . . . I have but two legs, and they are yours." Hentzner, Travels in England, 1598 (Rye), noted that "comedies and tragedies are concluded with variety of dances, accompanied by excellent music." So Lupton, London and the Countrey carbonadoed, 1632: "most commonly when the play is done, you shall have a jig or dance of all treads; they mean to put their legs to it, as well as their

the love you bear to women.

[ocr errors]

that between you and the women, the play may please. The Epilogue, in Brome, The Court Beggar, 1632, accuses the poets of bribing the women with flattery to commend their plays: "the Ladies . are their partiall judges, being brib'd by flattering verses and Rowley, The Thracian Wonder, v. to commend their Playes." Cf. Webster

"Tityrus.... if a jury of women go I had best to appeal to the men first, upon me, I'm sure to be cast. I think and make them my arbitrators. Clown. O, no, no, no! make your peace with the women first, ..; for if they take the matter in hand, your men are ne'er able to stand long in a case against them."

26, 27. with . . . in it] See Introd, p. xvi.

continue the story, with Sir John in it, and make you
merry with fair Katharine of France: where, for any
thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless
already a' be killed with your hard opinions; for 30
Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man.
My tongue is weary: when my legs are too, I will
bid you good night and so kneel down before
but, indeed, to pray for the queen.

31. a martyr] martyre Q.

29. sweat] the sweating sickness, or plague. See R. B., Appius and Virginia (Haz. Dods., iv. 119): " a number will die of the sweat," an allusion apparently to the plague which raged in London in 1563; Jonson, Bartholomew Fair, II. i: "able to give a man the sweating sickness," ," and Every Man out of his Humour, 11. ii: "I am fear'd, My brain doth sweat so, I have caught the plague! Markham, The English Hus-wife (1615), says of a patient infected with plague, "compel the sick party to sweat. See also Measure for Measure, 1. ii. 89.

[ocr errors]


31. Oldcastle... man] See Introd. pp. xvi, xxx-xxxii.

33. kneel down] The epilogist knelt on behalf of the players generally, Thus the Prologue, in Lyly, Sapho and Phao, The Prologue at the Court (Bond, ii): "Whatsoeuer we presêt, . we all, & I on knee for all, entreate, that your Highnesse,” etc.

[ocr errors]

34. but, indeed. . . queen] As "but, indeed" is used to introduce an adversative clause, "emphasizing the real fact in opposition to what is false' (Onions, who cites use of "indeed "in Tempest, II. i. 57), it is probable that a suppressed clause is to be understood before "but, indeed "—as, for instance, "[not to crave your favour], but, indeed, to pray for the queen." Cf. Jonson,


33. and so... queen.] om. Q.

[ocr errors]

Cynthia's Revels, Epilogue: "To crave your favour with a begging knee, Were to distrust the writer's faculty.' For the construction with “but, indeed " cf. J. Earle, Micro-cosmographie, A Tavern: "Men come here to make merry, but indeed make a noise."

34. pray... queen] It was customary, at the end of an Elizabethan play, for the players or one or more of them or the epilogist to repeat a prayer for the queen, and, in some cases, for the queen's Council, Parliament and people also. The prayer for the queen appears in the text of many interludes and plays; cf. R. B., Appius and Virginia (Haz. Dods., IV. 155): "I take my leave: Beseeching God, as duty is, our gracious Queen to save, The nobles and the commons eke, with prosperous life, I crave"; T. Preston, Cambyses (Haz. Dods., iv. 247): "Epilogus. As duty binds us, for our noble queen let us pray"; R. Wilson, The Three Lords and the Three Ladies of London (Haz, Dods., vi. 501): "Pleasure. . . . Fall we on knees, and humbly let us pray. Pomp. First that from heaven upon our gracious queen All manner blessings may be multiplied," etc. Cf. also Nice Wanton (1560), which is said to be the earliest play to contain a prayer for Queen Elizabeth, King Darius, A Looking Glasse for London and England (1594), etc., etc.

[ocr errors]


« AnteriorContinuar »