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their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
the rest, when the unhappy sufferer was sufficiently strained by the cords, &c. to begin confession. I cannot conclude this account of it without confessing my obligation to Sir Charles Frederick, who politely condescended to direct my enquiries, while his high command rendered every part of the Tower accessible to my researches,
I have since observed that, in Fox's Martyrs, edit. 1596, p. 1843, there is a representation of the same kind. To this also, Skelton, in his Why Come Ye Not to Court, seems to allude:
“ And with a cole rake
“ Bruise them on a brake." If Shakspeare alluded to this engine, the sense of the contested passage will be: “Some run more than once from engines of punishment, and answer no interrogatories; while some are condemned to suffer for a single trespass."
It should not, however, be dissembled, that yet a plainer meaning may be deduced from the same words. By brakes of vice may be meant a collection, a number, a thicket of vices. The same image occurs in Daniel's Civil Wars, b. iv.:
“ Rushing into the thickest woods of spears,
" And brakes of swords," &c. That a brake meant a bush, may be known from Drayton's poem on Moses and his Miracles :
“ Where God unto the Hebrew spake,
“ Appearing from the burning brake," Again, in The Mooncalf of the same author :
“ He brings into a brake of briars and thorn,
“ And so entangles." Mr. Tollet is of opinion that, by brakes of vice, Shakspeare means only the thorny paths of vice.
So, in Ben Jonson's Underwoods, Whalley's edit. vol. vi. p. 367:
“Look at the false and cunning man, &c.-
Steevens. The words-answer none, (that is, are not called to account for their conduct,) evidently show that brake of vice here means the engine of torture. The same mode of question is again referred to in Act V.:
“ To the rack with him: we'll touze you joint by joint,
“ But we will know this purpose.” The name of brake of vice, appears to have been given this machine from its resemblance to that used to subdue vicious horses ; to which Daniel thus refers :
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 constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors ? Well; what benefactors are they ? are they not malefactors ?
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 '; here's a wise officer. :
Ang. Go to: What quality are they of ? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow ? ?
Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
“ Lyke as the brake within the rider's hande
“ Not us'd before to come in such a band,” &c. Henley. 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 King Henry VIII. we have
“ 'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
“ That virtue must go through." Malone. ? This comes off well ;] This is nimbly spoken ; this is volubly uttered. JOHNSON.
The same phrase is employed in Timon of Athens, 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.
2 Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?] Says Angelo to the constable. “ He cannot, sir, (quoth the Clown,) he's out at elbow.” I know not whether this quibble be generally understood: he is out at the word elbow, and out at the elbow of his coat. The constable, in his account of master Froth and the Clown, has a stroke at the Puritans, who were very zealous against the stage about this time : “ Precise villains they are, that I am sure of ; and void of all profanation in the world, that good Christians ought to have." FARMER.
Ang. What are you, sir ?
ElB. He, sir ? a tapster, sir ; parcel-bawd '; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house *, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that ?
ElB. My wife, sir, whom I detest“ before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife ?
Elb. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore ? · ELB. I say, sir, 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.
Escal. How dost 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 uncleanli. ness there.
Escal. By the woman's means ?
3 – a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd ;] This we should now express by saying," he is half-tapster, half-bawd.” Johnson. Thus, in King Henry IV. Part II. :
“ - a parcel-gilt goblet." Steevens. 4 — she professes a hot-HOUSE,] A hot-house is an English name for a bagnio. So, Ben Jonson :
“ Where lately harbour'd many a famous whore,
“ And still be a whore-house.” Johnson. Again, in Goulart's Admirable Histories, &c. 1607: “-hearing that they were together in a hot-house at an old woman's that dwelt by him." STEEVENS.
5 — whom I detest-] He designed to say protest. Mrs. Quickly makes the same blunder in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Sc. IV.: “ But, I detest, an honest maid," &c. Steevens.
I think that Elbow, in both instances, uses detest for attest; that is, to call witness. M. MASON.
Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means' but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, t' honourable man, prove it. Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ?
ITO ANGELO. Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes ? ; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three-pence; your ho. nours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
ESCAL. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir.
Clo. 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 dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the
6 Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means :] Here seems to have been some mention made of Froth, who was to be accused, and some words therefore may have been lost, unless the irregularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the ignorance of the constable. Johnson.
9 - stew'd prunes ;] Stewed prunes were to be found in every brothel.
So, in Maroccus Exstaticus, or Bankes's Bay Horse in a Trance, 1595 : “ With this stocke of wenches will this trustie Roger and his Bettrice set up, forsooth, with their pamphlet pots and stewed prunes, &c. in a sinful saucer,” &c.
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.
8 — not China dishes, ) A China dish, in the age of Shakspeare, must have been such an uncommon thing, that the Clown's exemption of it, as no utensil in a common brothel, is a striking circumstance in his absurd and tautological deposition.
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.
Clo. Very well : you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes.
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Czo. Why, very well : I tell you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
ESCAL. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose.—What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of ? Come me to what was done to her.
Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not.
Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, sir ; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas :-Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth ?
Froth. All-hallownd eve.
Clo. Why, very well ; I hope here be truths : He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir ;'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit: Have you not ?
Froth. I have so; because it is an open room, and good for winter.
9- in a LOWER CHAIR,] Every house had formerly, among its other furniture, what was called — a low chair, designed for the ease of sick people, and, occasionally, occupied by lazy ones. Of these conveniencies I have seen many, though, perhaps, at present they are wholly disused. STEEVENS.
1- OPEN room,] Perhaps from the same root as oven, a warm room. Talbot.