Narcissus Part 13

"His cloake grew large and sid And a faire whinniard by his side."

(_Cobler of Canterburie_, 1608, sig. E, ii.)

Line 658. _Stingian._--So MS. for _Stygian_.

Line 668. _Lovd._--So MS., possibly for _livd_.

Line 670. _Vild._--So MS. for _vile_ or _wild_.

Lines 677, 678. _Christall_ and _cherrye_ reversed.

Line 683. _Headye_, rash, impetuous. See 1 _Henry IV._ ii. 3, 58, and _Henry V._ i. 1, 34.

Line 686. _d.i.c.ker._--Ten of any commodity, as ten hides of leather, ten bars of iron, etc. This word comes from the late Latin _dicra_ (_dicora, decora, dacra, dacrum_), cla.s.sical Latin _decuria_, meaning ten hides, occasionally ten of other things. "Also that no maner foreyn sille no lether in the seid cite, but it be in the yelde halle of the same, paying for the custom of every _d.y.k.er_ i.d." (_English Guilds_, ed. by Toulmin Smith, p. 384). For the wide use of the word in Western and Northern Europe, cf. O. Norse _dekr_, ten hides, M. H. G. _decker_, ten of anything, especially hides. Modern German _decker_ = ten hides.

Line 688. _How_ here = however, as in _Venus and Adonis_, 79; 1 _Henry IV._ v. 2, 12; and _Much Ado about Nothing_, iii. 1, 60.

Line 703. _Seas._--MS. has _sea_.

Line 711. _Pinke._--A word found in the northern dialects for "to peep slyly." Cf. the adjective _pink_, winking, half-shut; "Plumpy Bacchus with pink eyne" (_Antony and Cleopatra_, ii. 7, 121).

Line 734. _My grandam ... earth._--Cf. 1 _Henry IV._ iii. 1, 34.

Line 735. _Randome._--The verb random, to stray wildly, is more frequently found with the original spelling _randon_ (French _randoner_, to run rapidly), which became altered, possibly by a.n.a.logy with _whilom_ and _seldom_, possibly by a process of change similar to that which converted _ranson_ to _ransom_. Sackville writes:--"Shall leave them free to randon of their will."



Line 32. (_i_) is here equivalent to _id est_. Lilly gives the examples of lines 52, 53 (in which the same abbreviation here occurs) with the words written in full.

Line 48. _Repente._--A play on the meaning of the English and the form of the Latin word _repente_ is clearly intended.

Line 70. "Denarii dicti, quod denos aeris valebant; quinarii, quod quinos" (Varro).

Line 93. _Ja.n.u.s_ is frequently, though not invariably, represented in mythology as guardian of the entrance to heaven; in which capacity he holds in his right hand a staff, and in his left a key, symbolical of his office (Ovid, _Fast._ i. 125). The names of Jupiter and Ja.n.u.s were usually coupled in prayer, as the divinities whose aid it was necessary to invoke at the beginning of any undertaking. Jupiter gave by augury the requisite sanction; but it was the part of Ja.n.u.s to confer a blessing at the outset.

Line 111. _Hippocrise._--A beverage composed of wine, with spices and sugar, strained through a cloth; said to have been named from Hippocrates' sleeve, the term given by apothecaries to a strainer (Halliwell).

Line 111. _Muskadine._--A well-known rich wine.

"And I will have also wyne de Ryne With new maid clarye, that is good and fyne, Muscadell, terantyne, and b.a.s.t.a.r.d, With Ypocras and Pyment comyng afterwarde."

(_MS. Rawl._ C. 86.)

Though _muscadell_ is the usual form (for instances see Furnivall, _The Babees Book_, p. 205), the spelling _muscadine_ occurs in Beaumont and Fletcher's _Loyal Subject_, iii. 4.

Line 112. _The Pierides pies._--The reference is not to the Muses themselves (sometimes called Pierides from Pieria, near Olympus), but to the nine daughters of Pierus, who for attempting to rival the Muses were changed into birds of the magpie kind. For a full account of the transformation see Ovid, _Met._ v. 670, etc. There is a play here on the double meaning of _pie_, namely a bird (Latin pica), and an article of food.


Line 23.--_Keele_, to cool, from O. E. celan, M. E. kelen. See _Love's Labour's Lost_, v. 2, 930--"While greasy Joan doth keel the pot."

Usually, however, the verb bore the derived sense of "to keep from boiling over by stirring round." _A Tour to the Caves_, 1781, gives--"_Keel_, to keep the pot from boiling over." This is evidently the meaning which should be adopted here.


Line 13. _It is bootles_, etc.--Puns on the different meanings of the word _boot_ are very common in Elizabethan writers, and the relevant use of the one frequently entails the irrelevant introduction of the other.

See, for example, _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, i. 1, 27, etc.:

"_Pro._ Over the boots? Nay, give me not the boots.

_Val._ No, I will not, for it boots thee not."

And _Every Man in his Humour_, i. 3, 30, etc.:

"_Brai._ Why, you may ha' my master's gelding, to save your longing, sir.

_Step._ But I ha' no boots, that's the spite on't.

_Brai._ Why, a fine wisp of hay roll'd hard, Master Stephen.

_Step._ No, faith, it's no boot to follow him now."

"Give me not the boots" = "do not make a laughing-stock of me."

Line 48. _Ioynd stooles._--The word joint-stool, meaning a seat made with joints, a folding-chair, is sometimes spelt _join'd stool_ in old editions of Shakespeare. The porter's use of this form is probably intended to convey a jest; _ioynd stooles_ is here equivalent to stooles joined to one another, and the term is used as a facetious synonym for _bench_.


Line 6. _Oulde._--So MS., possibly for _whole_.

Line 19. _A man & noe beast._--An inversion, probably intentional.

Line 22. _Condole my tragedies._--_Condole_ is here used in the now obsolete transitive sense, and is equivalent to bewail, grieve over, lament. See (in 1607) Hieron, _Works_, i. 179--"How tender-hearted the Lord is, and how he doth ... condole our miseries." Cf. also Pistol's use of the verb, _Henry V._ ii. 1, 133.

Line 24. _Craues._--The substantive crave, = craving, is not in general use, but appears to be considered rather as a new formation than as an obsolete word. Thus the earliest of the three examples given in the N.

E. D. dates from 1830--"His crave and his vanity so far deluded him"

(_Fraser's Magazine_, i. 134). This is a clear instance of a previous use.

The sentence as it stands presents some difficulty, inasmuch as the porter has made in the course of his speech only two distinct pet.i.tions, namely that he may be forgiven "all delictes and crimes" (l. 10), and that his black staff may be restored to him (l. 18). Perhaps the delicate hint concerning "my ladye pecunia," coupled with the appeal to "the profunditye or abisse" of the President's liberality, is to be considered as const.i.tuting a third.

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