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I had thought, I had had men of some understanding
shall never have, while I live. Chan.
Well, well, my lords, respect him;
bury, I have a suit which you must not deny me; That is, a fair young maid that yet wants baptism,
2 That is, &c.] My suit is, that you would be a godfather to a fair young maid, who is not yet christened. Mr. Rowe readsThere is, &c. and all the subsequent editors have adopted this unnecessary alteration. The final word her, we should now consi. der as superfluous; but we have many instances of a similar phraseology in these plays-or, the construction may be-A fair young maid, &c. you must be godfather (to], and answer for her. So before, in this play:
whoever the king favours,
“ And far enough from court too.” Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
“ How true a gentleman you send relief (to]." Again, in Julius Cæsar :
You must be godfather, 3 and answer for her.
Cran. The greatest monarch now alive may glory In such an honour; How may I deserve it, That am a poor and humble subject to you? K. Hen. Come, come, my lord, you 'd spare your
spoons;you shall have
“ Thy honourable metal may be wrought
“From what it is dispos'd .” See also Vol. VII, p. 351, n. 3, and a note on Cymbeline, sc. ult. Vol. XVI. Malone.
The superfluous pronoun in the text (if it be superfluous) may be justified by the following passage in Romeo and Juliet :
this reverend holy friar, “ All our whole city is much bound to him.” Steevens. 3 You must be godfather,] Our prelates formerly were often em. ployed on the like occasions. Cranmer was godfather to Edward VI. See Hall, fo. 232. Archbishop Warham to Henry's eldest son by Queen Katharine ; and the Bishop of Winchester to Henry himself. See Sandford, 479, 495. Reed.
- you'd spare your spoons;] It was the custom, long before ibe time of Shakspeare, for the sponsors at christenings to offer gilt spoons as a present to the child. These spoons were called apostle spoons, because the figures of the apostles were carved on the tojes of the handles. Such as were at once opulent and generous, gave the whole twelve ; those who were either more moderately rich or liberal, escaped at the expence of the four evan. gelists; or even sometimes contented themselves with presenting one spoon only, which exhibited the figure of any saint, in honour of whom the child received its name.
In the year 1560, we find entered on the books of the Stationers' company,“ a spoyne, of the gyfte of master Reginold Wolfe all gylte with the pycture of St. John."
Ben Jonson also, in his Bartholomew Fair, mentions spoons of this kind: “- and all this for the hope of a couple of apostle spoons, and a cup to eat caudle in."
So, in Middleton's comedy of A chaste Maid of Cheapside, 1620: “2 Gos. What has he given her?-what is it, gossip? 3 Gos. A faire high standing-cup, and two great 'postle spoons, one of them gilt. 1 Pur. Sure that was Judas then with the red beard." Again:
“E'en the same gossip 'twas that gave the spoons." Again, in Sir Wm. D'Avenant's comedy of The Wits, 1639:
my pendants, carcanets, and rings, “My christning caudle.cup, and spoons,
“ Are dissolv'd into that lump.” Again, in The Maid in the Mill, by Beaumont and Fletcher: .
« Didst ask her name?-
Two noble partners with you; the old duchess of Nor
“ And what they promis'd more, besides a spoon,
“ And what apostle's picture.". Again, in The Noble Gentleman, by the same authors:
“I'll be a gossip, Bewford,
I have an odd apostle spoon." Mr. Pegge, in his preface to A Forme of Cury, a Roll of ancient English Cookery, compiled about A. D. 1390, &c. observes, that “the general mode of eating must either have been with the spoon or the fingers; and this, perhaps, may have been the reason that spoons became the usual present from gossips to their god. children, at christenings.” Steevens.
As the following story, which is found in a collection of anec. dotes, entitled Merry Passages and Feasts, MSS. Harl. 6395, contains an allusion to this custom, and has not, I believe, been published, it may not be an improper supplement to this account of apostle spoons. It shows that our author and Ben Jonson were once on terms of familiarity and friendship, however cold and jealous the latter might have been at a subsequent period:
“Shakspeare was godfather to one of Ben Jonson's children, and after the christening, being in deepe study, Jonson came to cheer him up, and ask'd him why he was so melancholy: No 'faith, Ben, says he, not I; but I have been considering a great while what should be the fittest gift for me to bestow upon my godchild, and I have resolvd at last. I pr’ythee, what? says he.- l' faith, Ben, I'll give him a douzen good latten (Latin) spoons, and thou shalt translate them.”
The collector of these anecdotes appears to have been nephew to Sir Roger L'Estrange. He names Donne as the relater of this story.
The practice of sponsors giving spoons at christenings continued to the latter end of the last century, as appears from a pamphlet written against Dryden, entitled The Reasons of Mr. Bayes's Conversion, &c. p. 14.
At one period it was the mode to present gifts of a different kind. “ At this time,” (the first year of Queen Elizabeth) says the continuator of Stowe's Chronicle, " and for many yeeres before, it was not the use and custome, as now it is, (1631,] for godfathers and godmothers generally to give plate at the baptism of children, (as spoones, cups, and such like,) but only to give christening shirts, with little hands and cuffs wrought either with silk or blue thread; the best of them for chief persons were edged with a small lace of blacke silke and golde; the highest price of which for great men's children were seldom above a noble, and the common sort, two, three, or four and five shillings a piece.”
Whether our author, when he speaks of apostle-spoons, has, as usual, attributed the practice of his own time to the reign of Henry VIII, I have not been able to ascertain. Probably howe
And lady marquiss Dorset; Will these please you?
With a true heart,
And let heaven
heart. 5 The common voice, I see, is verify'd Of thee, which says thus, Do my lord of Canterbury A shrewd turn, and he is your friend for ever.Come, lords, we trifle time away; I long To have this young one made a christian. As I have made ye one, lords, one remain; So I grow stronger, you more honour gain. [Exeunt.
The Palace Yard.
Noise and Tumult within. Enter Porter, and his Man.
Port. You 'll leave your noise anon, ye rascals: Do you take the court for Paris-garden ?6 ye rudę slaves, leave your gaping.?
ver, he is here accurate; for we know that certain pieces of plate were, on some occasions, then bestowed; Hall, who has written a minute account of the christening of Elizabeth, informing us, that the gifts presented by her sponsors were a standing cup of gold, and six gilt bowls, with covers. Chron. Hen. VIII, fol. 218.
Malone. thy true heart.] Old copy-hearts. Corrected by the editor of the second folio. Malone.
Paris-garden?] The bear-garden of that time. Johnson. This celebrated bear-garden on the Bankside was so called from Robert de Paris, who had a house and garden there in the time of King Richard II, Rot. claus. 16 R. II, dors. ii. Blount's GLOSSOGRAPH. Malone. So, in Sir W. D'Avenant's News from Plimouth:
do you take this mansion for Pict-hatch? “ You would be suitors: yes, to a she-deer,
“ And keep your marriages in Paris-garden ?” Again, in Ben Jonson's Execration on Vulcan:
" And cried, it was a threatning to the bears,
“ And that accursed ground the Paris-garden." The Globe theatre, in which Shakspeare was a performer, stood
[Within.] Good master porter, I belong to the larder.
Port. Belong to the gallows, and be hanged, you rogue: Is this a place to roar in ?-Fetch me a dozen crab-tree staves, and strong ones; these are but switches to them.-I'll scratch your heads: You must be seeing christenings? Do you look for ale and cakes here, you rude rascals?
Man. Pray, sir, be patient;& 'tis as much impossible (Unless we sweep them from the door with cannons) To scatter them, as 'tis to make them sleep On May-day morning;9 which will never be:
on the southern side of the river Thames, and was contiguous to this noted place of tumult and disorder. St. Mary Overy's church is not far from London Bridge, and almost opposite to Fishmonger's Hall. Winchester House was over against Cole Harbour. Paris-garden was in a line with Bridewell, and the Globe playhouse faced Blackfriars, Fleet-ditch, or St. Paul's. It was an hexagonal building of stone or brick. Its roof was of rushes, with a flag on the top. See a south view of London, (as it appeared in 1599,) published by T. Wood, in Bishop's Court, in Chancery Lane, in 1771. Steevens.
gaping. ) i. e. shouting or roaring; a sense which this word has now almost lost. Littleton, in his Dictionary, has however given it in its present signification as follows: “To gape or bawl, vociferor.” So, in Roscommon's Essay on translated Verse, as quo. ted'in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary:
“That noisy, nauseous, gaping fool was he.” Reed. Such being one of the ancient senses of the verb-to gape, perhaps the "gaping pigo mentioned by Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, has hitherto been misinterpreted Steevens.
8 Pray, sir, be patient ;] Part of this scene in the old copy is printed as verse, and part as prose. Perhaps the whole, with the occasional addition and omission of a few harmless syllables, might be reduced into a loose kind of metre; but as I know not what advantage would be gained by making the experiment, I have left the whole as I found it. Steevens.
9 On Mav-dav morning;] It was anciently the custom for all ranks of people to go out a maving on the first of May. It is on record that King Henry VIII and Queen Katharine partook of this diversion. See Vol. II, p 345, n 3. Steevens.
Stowe says, that, “in the month of May, namely, on May-day in the morning, every man, except impediment, would walk into the sweet meadows and green woods; there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the noise [i. e. concert] of birds, praising God in their kind.” See also Brand's Observations on popular Antiquities, 8vo. 1777, p. 255.