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He should, or he should not;—for he made me mad,
I“ The Corcomb."-One fancies an ancient BRUMMELL described in this picture, and is led to give Hotspur's contemptuous mimicry a corresponding tone of voice, and doubtless with propriety. For coxcombry, like greater qualities, is the same in all ages,-a compound affectation of exquisiteness, indifference, and hollow superiority. Hotspur's nobleman, Rochester's Jack Hewitt, Etheredge's Flutter, Vanbrugh's Lord Foppington, Pope's Sir Plume, &c., &c., down to Brummell himself, all, we may rest assured, spoke in the same instinctive tone of voice, fleeting modes apart.
? " Took it in snuff."-A pun ; meaning, in the phraseology of the time, in dudgeon. But the pettiest of figures of speech acquires here a singular force of propriety, from its conveyance of contempt.
In this pleasant specimen of the way in which a complainant may be led into self-committals by the apparent good faith of leading questions, I have stopped short of the lecture which the Abbess proceeds to give the wife. The remark with which she commences it, includes the whole spirit of it in one epigrammatic sentence. The passage is in the Comedy of Errors ; a play, I think, which would be more admired, if readers were to give its perplexities a little closer attention.
Enter the ABBESS.
Adriana. To fetch my poor distracted husband hence.
Angelo. I knew he was not in his perfect wits.
Adr. This week he hath been heavy, sour, sad,
Abb. Hath he not lost much wealth by wreck at sea ?
Adr. To none of these, except it be the last;
Abb. You should for that have reprehended him.
Ay, but not rough enough.
And in assemblies too.
Adr. It was the copy of our conference:
Abb. And therefore came it that the man was mad.
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
All the scenes, actual or implied, in which the Shrew up.der.
goes her course of taming, are brought together in these extracts; so that, as in the instance of the Fairy Drama, selected from the Midsummer Night's Dream, in the volume entitled Imagination and Fancy, they present a little play of themselves.
The Taming of the Shrew, for its extravagance, ought rather to be called a farce than a comedy ; but it is none the worse for that. A farce, in five acts, full of genius, may stand above a thousand comedies. The spirit of comedy is in it, with something more. Several of Molière's comedies are farces; and so are those of Aristophanes. People whose will and folly are generally in such equal portions as those of shrews, may be frightened and kept down by wills equal to their own, accompanied with greater understandings; but they are not to be tamea in the course of two or three weeks, even supposing them to be tameable at all, or by anything short of the severest rebukes of fortune. Shakspeare knew this, and has poetized his farce and put it in verse, the better to carry off the high and jovial fancy of Petruchio; who, it must be allowed, was the man to succeed in his project, if ever man could. He is a fine, hearty compound of bodily and mental vigor, adorned by wit, spirits, and good na. ture. He does not marry Katharine merely for her dowry. He likes also her pretty face; and, in the gaiety of his animal spirits, he seems to have persuaded himself, that one pretty woman is as good as another, provided she be put into a comfortable state of subjection by a good husband.
Let the reader, however, note the concluding line of the play. I think Shakspeare meant to intimate by it, that even the gallant Petruchio would find his victory not so complete as he fancied.
SCENE, in front of the house of the Bride's father, BAPTISTA
Enter BAPTISTA, GREMIO, TRANIO, KATHARINA, BIANCA, Lucex
Tio, and Attendants,
What will be said ? What mockery will it be,
Katharine. No shame but mine : I must, forsooth, be forc'd
Tranio. Patience, good Katharine, and Baptista too;
[Exit, weeping, followed by BIANCA and others
Bion. Master, master! News, old news, and such news as you never heard of.
Bap. Is it new and old too? how may that be?
Bion. Why, Petrucnio is coming, in a new hat and an old jerkin; a pair of old breeches, thrice turned ; a pair of boots that have been candle-cases, one buckled and another laced; an old rusty sword ta'en out of the town armory, with a broken hilt, and chapeless ;* with two broken points ;t his Chapeless, without a catch to hold it.
† Points, tags.
horse hipped with an old mothy saddle, the stirrups of no kindred; besides, possessed with the glanders, and like to mose in the chine; troubled with the lampass," infected with the fashions,t full cf wind-galls, sped with spavins, raied with the yellows, past cure of the fires, stark spoiled with the staggers, begnawn with the bots ; swayed in the back, and shoul. der-shotten; ne'er-legged before; and with a half-checked bit, and a head. stall of sheep's leather; which, being restrained to keep him from stum. bling, hath been often burst, and now repaired with knots: one girth six times pierced, and a woman's crupper of velure, which hath two letters for her name, fairly set down in studs, and here and there pieced with pack. thread.'
Bap. Who comes with him ?
Bion. O, sir, his lackey, for all the world capariscried like the horse, with a linen stock on one leg, and a kersey boot-hose on the other, gartered with a red and blue list; and old hat and The Humor of Forty Fanciest pricked in't for a feather : a monster, a very monster in apparel ; and not like a Christian foot-boy, or a gentleman's lackey.
Tra. 'Tis some odd humor pricks him to this fashion !Yet oftentimes he goes but mean apparell’d.
Enter PETRUCHIO and GRUMIO.
Where is my lovely dae ?
Bap. Why, sir, you know this is your wedding-day:
Tra. And tell us, what occasion of import
Pet. Tedious it were to tell, and harsh to hear;
Lampass, a lump in the mouth. † The fashions, the farcy, a species of reprosy. | The Humor of Forty Fancies, supposed to be a collectior. of songs
Disgress, deviate from the ordinary course.