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For your converfing. 3 Now your traveller,
3 Now your traveller.] It is faid in All's well that ends well, that a traveller is a good thing after dinner. In that age of newly excited curiofity, one of the entertainments at great tables feems to have been the difcourfe of a traveller. JOHNSON.
4 He and his tooth-pick-] It has been already remarked, that to pick the tooth, and wear a piqued beard, were, in that time, marks of a man affecting foreign fashions. JOHNSON.
Among Gascoigne's poems I find one entitled, Councell given to maifer Bartholomew Withipoll a little before his latter journey to Geane, 1572. The following lines may perhaps be acceptable to the reader who is curious enough to enquire about the fashionable follies imported in that age:
"Now, Sir, if I fhall fee your maftership "Come home difguis'd, and clad in quaint array "As with a piketooth byting on your lippe "Your brave muftachio's turn'd the Turkie way "A coptankt hat made on a Flemish blocke "A night-gowne cloake down trayling to your toes "A flender flop clofe couched to your dock "A curtolde flipper and a short filk hofe," &c. So Fletcher- "You that trust in travel
"You that enhance the daily price of toothpicks." Again, in Shirley's Grateful Servant, 1630.
"I will continue my state-posture, ufe my toothpick with dif"cretion," &c.
Again, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1631." this matter "will trouble us more than all your poem on picktooths."
So again, in Cinthia's Revels by Ben Jonfon, 1601.
-"A traveller, one fo made out of the mixture and fhreds "and forms that himself is truly deformed. He walks most
commonly with a clove or picktooth in his mouth." So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wild Goofe Chafe.
"Their very pick-teeth fpeak more man than we do." Again, in The Honeft Man's Fortune by B. and Fletcher. "You have travell'd like a fidler to make faces and brought "home nothing but a cafe of toothpicks." STEEVENS.
My piked man of countries :] The word piked may not refer to the beard, but to the foes, which were once worn of an immoderate length. To this fashion our author has alluded in
(Thus leaning on my elbow, I begin)
I fball befeech you That is queftion now;
King Lear, where the reader may find a more ample explanation of this paffage. Piked may however mean only fpruce in drefs.
Chaucer fays in one of his prologues" Fresh and new her geare ypiked was." And in the Merchaunts Tale.-" He "kempeth him, and proineth him, and piketh." In Hyrd's tranflation of Vives's Inftruction of a Chriftian Woman, printed in 1591. we meet with " picked and apparelled goodly-goodly "and pickedly arrayed.-Licurgus, when he would have women of his country to be regarded by their virtue and not "their ornaments, banished out of the country by the law all painting, and commanded out of the town all crafty men of picking and apparelling."
Again, in a comedy called All Fools, by Chapman, 1602. "Tis fuch a picked fellow, not a haire
"About his whole bulk, but it ftands in print."
My picked man of countries may fignify my spruce traveller, or, if a comma be placed after the word man,
My picked man, of countries.'
the paffage will mean, "I catechize my selected man, about the "countries through which he travelled." STEEVENS.
Like an a, b, c book.] An a, b, c book, or, as they spoke and wrote it, an abfey book, is a catechijm. JOHNSON.
7 And fo, e'er anfwer knows what queßion would,
SAVING in dialogue of compliment ;] In this fine fpeech, Faulconbridge would fhew the advantages and prerogatives of men of worship. He obferves, particularly, that he has the traveller at command (people at that time, en a new world was dif covering, in the highest estimation). At the firft intimation of his defire to hear strange ftories, the traveller complies, and will scarce give him leave to make his queftion, but "e'er an"fwer knows what queftion would"-What then, why, according to the prefent reading, it grows towards fupper-time : and is not this worshipful fociety?" To fpend all the time between dinner and fupper before either of them knows what the other would be at. Read SERVING inftead of faving, and all this nonfenfe is avoided; and the account ftands thus, "E'er
And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
And fits the mounting spirit like myself:
"anfwer knows what question would be at, my traveller ferves "in his dialogue of compliment, which is his ftanding dish at "all tables; then he comes to talk of the Alps and Apennines, "&c. and, by the time this discourse concludes, it draws to"wards fupper." All this is fenfible and humorous; and the phrafe of ferving in is a very pleafant one to denote that this was his worship's fecond courfe. What follows fhews the romantic turn of the voyagers of that time; how greedily their relations were swallowed, which he calls "fweet poifon for the age's "tooth;" and how acceptable it made men at court-" For it "fhall ftrew the footsteps of my rifing." And yet the Oxford editor fays, by this "fweet poifon" is meant "flattery."
This paffage is obfcure; but fuch an irregularity and perplexity runs through the whole fpeech, that I think this emendation not neceffary. JOHNSON.
Which though, &c.] The conftru&tion will be mended, if inftead of " which though," we read" this though." JOHNSON. 9 But who comes here-] Milton, in his tragedy, introduces Delilah, with fuch an interrogatory exclamation. JOHNSON.
To blow a born-] He means, that a woman who travelled about like a poft was likely to horn her husband. JoHNSON.
Enter lady Faulconbridge and James Gurney.
Lady. Where is that flave, thy brother? where is he, That holds in chafe mine honour up and down?
Phil. My brother Robert? old Sir Robert's fon? 2 Colbrand the giant, that fame mighty man? Is it Sir Robert's fon, that you feek fo?
Lady. Sir Robert's fon! ay, thou unreverend boy, Sir Robert's fon: why scorn'ft thou at Sir Robert ? He is Sir Robert's fon, and fo art thou.
Phil. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while? Gur. Good leave, good Philip. Phil. 3 Philip!fparrow! -James, There's toys abroad; 4 anon I'll tell thee more.
Madam, I was not old Sir Robert's fon;
2 Colbrand was a Danish giant, whom Guy of Warwick difcomfited in the prefence of king Athelftan. The combat is very pompously defcribed by Drayton in his Polyolbion. JOHNSON.
3 Philip!- fparrow!-James,] I think the poet wrote, "Philip! fpare me, James," i. e. don't affront me with an appellation that comes from a family which I difdain. WARB.
The old reading is far more agreeable to the character of the fpeaker. Dr. Gray obferves, that Skelton has a poem to the memory of Philip Sparrow; and Mr. Pope in a short note remarks, that a Sparrow is called Philip. JOHNSON.
Gascoigne has likewise a poem entitled, The Praife of Philip Sparrow. STEEVENS.
There's toys abroad, &c.] i. e. idle reports. So in B. Jonfon's Sejanus.
"Toys, mere toys, "What wifdom's in the streets."
might have eat his part in me
Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his faft :] This thought occurs in Heywood's Dialogues upon Proverbs, 1562.
" he may his parte on good fridaie eate
"and fast never the wurs, for ought he shall geate."
We knew his handy-work: therefore, good mother,
Lady. Haft thou confpired with thy brother too, That, for thine own gain, should'st defend mine ho
What means this scorn, thou moft untoward knave? Phil. Knight, knight, good mother-Bafilifco like.
What! I am dub'd; I have it on my fhoulder.
Knight, knight, good mother, Bafilico like.] Thus mut this paffage be pointed; and, to come at the humour of it, I muft clear up an old circumftance of ftage-history, Faulconbridge's words here carry a concealed piece of fatire on a flupid drama of that age, printed in 1599, and called Soliman and Perfeda. In this piece there is the character of a bragging cowardly knight, called Bafilifco. His pretenfion to valour is fo blown and feen through, that Piston, a buffoon-fervant in the play, jumps upon his back, and will not difengage him, till he makes Bafilifco fwear upon his dudgeon dagger to the contents, and in the terms he dictates to him: as, for instance, O, I swear, I fwear."
Pift. By the contents of this blade."
baf." I, the aforefaid Bafilifco, knight, good fellow, knight, "knight"
Pift. "Knave, good fellow, knave, knave.”.
So that it is clear, our poet is fneering at this play; and makes Philip, when his mother calls him knave, thow off that reproach by humourously laying claim to his new dignity of knighthood; as Bafilifco arrogantly infifts on his title of knight in the paffage above quoted. The old play is an execrable bad one; and, I fuppofe, was fufficiently exploded in the reprefentation: which might make this circumftance fo well known, as to become the butt for a ftage-farcafm. THEOBALD.