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Clo. Why, very well then ;-I hope here be truths.
Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, 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.
[Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more ?
Clo. Once, sir ? there was nothing done to her once.
Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me.
Escal. Well, sir : What did this gentleman to her ?
Cto. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face :—Good master Froth, look upon his honour ; 'tis for a good purpose : Doth your honour mark his face?
ESCAL. Ay, sir, very well.
Clo. I'll be supposed 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 ?
ElB. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
· I'll be supposed —] He means deposed. Malone.
Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
Clo. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
Escal. Which is the wiser here ? Justice, or Iniquity ? ?- Is this true ?
ElB. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal '! I respected with her, before I was married 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 o'th'ear, you might have your action of slander too.
ELB. Marry, I thank your good worship for it : What is't your worship's pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff ?
Escal. Truly, officer, because he hath some of fences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses, till thou know'st what they are.
ElB. Marry, I thank your worship for it :-Thou
2 Justice, or Iniquity ?] These 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 lost. Johnson.
“ Justice, or Iniquity ? " i. e. The Constable or the Fool. Escalus calls the latter, Iniquity, in allusion to the old Vice, a familiar character in the ancient moralities and dumb-shews. Justice may have a similar allusion, which I am unable to explain. Iniquitie is one of the personages “in the worthy interlude of Kynge Darius,” 4to. bl. 1. no date. And in The First Part of King Henry IV. Prince Henry calls Falstaff,—“ that reverend Vice, that grey Iniquity.” Ritson. 3 – Hannibal !] Mistaken by the Constable for Cannibal.
seest, thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now, thou varlet ; thou art to continue “. ESCAL. Where were you born, friend ?
To Froth Froth. Here in Vienna, sir. Escal. Are you of fourscore pounds a year ? Froth. Yes, an't please you, sir. Escal. So.—What trade are you of, sir ?
[To the Clown. Clo. A tapster; a poor widow's tapster. ESCAL. Your mistress's name? Clo. Mistress Over-done. Escal. Hath she had any more than one husband? Clo. Nine, sir; Over-done by the last.
Escal. Nine!--Come hither to me, master Froth. Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with tapsters; they will draw you', master Froth, and you will hang them: Get you gone, and let me hear no more of you.
Froth. I thank your worship : For mine own part, I never come into any room in a taphouse, but I am drawn in.
Escal. Well; no more of it, master Froth: farewell. [Exit Froth.]-Come you hither to me, master tapster ; what's your name, master tapster ?
Clo. Pompey .
4 – thou art to continue.] Perhaps Elbow, misinterpreting the language of Escalus, supposes the Clown is to continue in confinement ; at least, he conceives some severe punishment or other to be implied by the word—continue. Steevens.
5 - they will DRAW you,] Draw has here a cluster of senses. As it refers to the tapster, it signifies to drain, to empty ; as it is related to hang, it means to be conveyed to execution on a hurdle. In Froth's answer, it is the same as to bring along by some motive or power. Johnson.
o Pompey.] His mistress, in a preceding scene, calls him Thomas Ritson.
ESCAL. 'Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you?; so that, in the beastliest sense,
7 — greatest thing about you ;) Greene, in one of his pieces, mentions the “great bumme of Paris." Again, in Tyro's Roaring Megge, 1598 :
“ Tyro's round breeches have a cliffe behind.” Steevens. Harrison, in his Description of Britain, prefixed to Holinshed's Chronicle, condemns the excess of apparel amongst his countrymen, and thus proceeds : “ Neither can we be more justly burdened with any reproche than inordinate behaviour in apparell, for which most nations deride us ; as also for that we men doe seeme to bestowe most cost upon our arses, and much more than upon all the rest of our bodies, as women do likewise upon their beads and shoulders.” Should any curious reader wish for more information upon this subject, he is referred to Strutt's Manners and Customs of the English, vol. iii. p. 86. Douce.
But perhaps an ancient MS. ballad, entitled, A Lamentable Complaint of the Poor Country Men againste great Hose, for the Losse of there Cattelles Tailes, Mus. Brit. MS. Harl. 367, may throw further light on the subject, This ballad consists of 41 stanzas. From these the following are selected :
5. “ For proude and paynted parragenns,
" And monstrous breched beares,
“ Which I reporte with teares.-
" Who monstrous hose delyght,
“ Most grevus hurte and spyte.
" To furnyshe forthe theare pryde,
“ To make theare bryches wyde.
“ And fall upon the poore,
“ Which monnstrus hose devore.
“ The bryche of every knave,
" Which waye his tale to saufe.
you are Pompey the great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a tapster. Are you not ? come, tell me true ; it shall be the better for you.
Clo. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow, that would live.
Escal. How would you live, Pompey ? by being a bawd ? What do you think of the trade, Pompey ? is it a lawful trade ?
Clo. If the law would allow it, sir.
ESCAL. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna.
Clo. Does your worship mean to geld and spay all the youth in the city ?
23. “ And that with speede to take awaye
" Great bryches as the cause
“ Some sharpe and houlsome lawes.
" Whiche Chrysten men should save, “ By dyvers wayes is blemyshed,
“ To boulster breaches brave.
" As yet cann wel be founde,
“ Weare well and trewly bounde,
“ To stuffe their breyches oute;
See also, in the Persones Tale of Chaucer : — “and eke the buttokkes of hem behinde, that faren as it were the hinder part of a she ape in the ful of the mone."
In consequence of a diligent inspection of ancient pictures and prints, it may be pronounced that this ridiculous fashion appeared in the early part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, then declined, and recommenced at the beginning of that of James the First.