Narcissus Part 12

Line 397. _Lurden_, a clown, sluggard, ill-bred person (Halliwell).

"And seyde, lurden, what doyst thou here?

Thou art a thefe, or thefys fere."

(MS. _Cantab_, Ff. ii. 38, f. 240.)

The word occurs in _Piers Plowman_.

Line 399. _O Oedipus I am not, I am Davus._--A quotation from Terence, _Andria_, i. 2, 23: "Davus sum, non Oedipus."

Line 400. _Master Davis._--Evidently an intentional anglicizing of the cla.s.sical name.

Line 406. _Vast.i.tye._--So MS., possibly for _vastilye_.

Line 408. _As true as Helen, etc._--Cf. the professions of Pyramus and Thisbe (where, however, no irony is intended), _Midsummer Night's Dream_, v. 1, 200-203.

Line 413. _Loves._--So MS. for _love_.

Line 413. _I am ore shooes in it._--Cf. _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, i. 1, 23:

"That's a deep story of a deeper love, For he was more than over shoes in love."

Line 414. _Mountenance_, quant.i.ty, amount. The translation of the _Romaunt of the Rose_, attributed to Chaucer, has--"The mountenance of two fynger hight."

Line 422. _Never ioyd it since._--Cf. 1 _Henry IV._ ii. 1, 13: "Poor fellow, never joyed since the price of oats rose; it was the death of him."

Line 426. _Pay_ = beat (still used dialectically):

"They with a foxe tale him soundly did pay."

(_The King and a poore Northerne Man_, 1640.)

Line 440. _Sc.u.mmer._--The meanings of this word appear to be either various or obscure. Halliwell gives "_Sc.u.mmer_, wonder; Somerset." In Elworthy's _West Somersetshire Wordbook_ the definitions stand thus: (1) row, disturbance; (2) confusion, upset; (3) mess, dirty muddle. Wright, in his _Provincial Dictionary_, gives the meaning as ordure, without referring the word to any special locality. Obviously, this _sc.u.mmer_ is not to be confounded with M. E. _sc.u.mer_, a rover or pirate.

Line 441. _Surquedry_, presumption, arrogance, conceit. Chaucer has--"Presumpcion is he whan a man taketh an emprise that him ought not to do, or ellis he may it not do & that is called surquidrie" (_Parson's Tale_, Corpus MS.).

Line 441. _Shooing-horne._--Metaphorically, anything which helps to draw something else on: a tool. Cf. _Troilus and Cressida_, v. 1, 61: "A thrifty shoeing-horn in a chain, hanging at his brother's leg." The expression "shoeing horn of surquedry" is thus equivalent to "chosen implement of personified arrogance."

Line 442. _Casting topp_, a peg-top. See W. Coles (1657), _Adam in Eden_, 169--"The fruit is in forme like a casting-top."

Line 443. _Stopple._--The older form of stopper. Cotgrave has--"Tampon, a bung or stopple."

Line 446. _Vpp leave._--So MS. for _vpp heave_, possibly by confusion with _vpp lift_.

Line 453. _Corneagle._--I can find no instances whatever of this very puzzling word; neither does it seem to be closely a.n.a.logous to any known form. Can _corneagle_ be a corrupt spelling of _co-niggle_, to niggle both (our hearts) together? _Niggle_ was used formerly for deceive, steal (still in the dialects), make sport of, mock; but is not, to my knowledge, compounded elsewhere with this prefix. Or is "harts corneagle" a subst.i.tution for "harts' core niggle"? (Heart's core occurs in _Hamlet_.) Both explanations have been suggested to me only as a last resource, and are too far-fetched to be at all convincing. Moreover, the context seems to require the sense of pursue, persecute, rather than of deceive.

Line 464. _Tales of tubbes._--A characteristic rendering into Elizabethan English of Ovid's "Illa Deam longo prudens sermone tenebat."

The earliest instances of the expression "tales of tubs" seem to occur about the middle of the sixteenth century.

_Notes and Queries_, series v. vol. xi. p. 505, quotes amongst "curious phrases in 1580"--"To heare some Gospel of a distaffe and tale of a tubbe" (_Beehive of the Romish Church_, fo. 275b). See also Holland's "Plutarch," p. 644, and (for further references) Dodsley-Hazlitt's _Old Plays_, ii. 335.

Line 475. _Quatte._--A corruption of _squat_, sometimes used substantively for the sitting of a hare:

"Procure a little sport And then be put to the dead quat."

(_White Devil_, 4to, H.)

That the word in this sense was not general may be gathered from the fact that George Turberville, in his full description of the various methods of hunting the hare (_n.o.ble Art of Venerie_, 1575), makes no use of it, but speaks constantly of the hare's form. _Quat_ for _squat_ (non-substantival) is still frequent in some of the dialects, and is the word specially used of a hare or other game when flattening itself on the earth to escape observation. In West Somersetshire it is used in connection with the verb to go--"The hare went quat" (Elworthy). This is the modern use most nearly approximating to that of the present pa.s.sage.

Line 476. _Watt_, the old name for a hare; hence metaphorically used of a wily, cautious person (Halliwell).

Line 478. _Hollowe in the hind doggs._--Turberville, describing the hunting of hares, writes,--"One of the huntesmen shall take charge to rate & beate on _such doggs as bide plodding behinde_; and the other shall make them seeke and cast about."

Line 518. _Slidd_, G.o.d's lid, a mean oath. See _Merry Wives of Windsor_, iii. 4, 24; _Twelfth Night_, iii. 4, 427; _Every Man in his Humour_, i.

1, 56.

Line 537. _Patch._--A term of contempt, generally supposed to have been first applied to professional fools, by reason of their parti-coloured dress. See _Tempest_, iii. 2, 71; _Comedy of Errors_, iii. 1, 32, 36.

Line 556. _Malaparte_, forward, saucy. See _Twelfth Night_, iv. 1, 47, and 3 _Henry VI._ v. 5, 32.

Line 569. _Scall scabbe._--A scall = a scab; scald = scabby. See _Merry Wives of Windsor_, iii. 1, 123; _Twelfth Night_, ii. 5, 82; _Troilus and Cressida_, ii. 1, 31.

Line 571. _Groome._--In M. E. this word meant simply boy, youth; hence (at a later period) serving-lad. See _Taming of the Shrew_, iii. 2, 215, and _t.i.tus Andronicus_, iv. 2, 164.

Line 573. _Bange_, beat. Cf. _Oth.e.l.lo_, ii. 1, 21, and _Julius Caesar_, iii. 3, 20.

Line 575. _Kee pickpurse._--This expression seems to be a quotation from 1 _Henry IV._ ii. 1, 53:

"_Gads._ What, ho! Chamberlain!

_Cham. (within)._ At hand, quoth pick-purse."

I am told that the colloquial use of _kee_, or _quy_, for _quoth_, is frequent in certain parts of Scotland; but I can find no literary example of the form, and it is hard to account for its presence in this pa.s.sage. The scribal subst.i.tution of _quy_ for the abbreviated _quoth_ might easily occur, the thorn-letter being erroneously transcribed by _y_, as in _the_; but this cannot have given rise to any M. E. phonetic change such as the spelling _kee_ certainly implies.

Line 587. _Spurrgald._--Cf. _Richard II._ v. 5, 94.

Line 588. _Jolthead_, blockhead, dunce. See _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, iii. 1, 290,--"Fie on thee, jolt-head! Thou canst not read." Also _Taming of the Shrew_, iv. 1, 169.

Line 590. _Rooke_ = cheat or sharper, and is used as a general term of contempt. See _Every Man in his Humour_, i. 5, 89,--"Hang him, rook!"

The host of the Garter frequently addresses his familiars as "bully-rook." See _Merry Wives of Windsor_, i. 3, 2; ii. 1, 200, 207, 213.

Line 611. _Forfeiture._--Properly, something lost on engagement, or in consequence of the breach of an obligation. Cf. _Merchant of Venice_, i.

3, 165; iv. 1, 24, 122. Here the word is used in a modified and more general sense.

Line 641. _Ast._--Cf., in 1592, G. Harvey's _Pierces Superer_, 57,--"He ... bourdeth, girdeth, a.s.seth, the excellentest writers."

Line 644. _Scindifer._--So MS., possibly for _scimitar_.

Line 649. _Whineard_, a sword or hanger (Halliwell):--

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