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The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, "—
With, hey! the fweet birds, O, how they fing!—
Doth fet my pugging tooth on edge;


For a quart of ale is a difh for a king.

I believe that many of our readers will push the comparison a little further, and concur with me in thinking that our modern, minftrels of the opera, like their predeceffor Autolycus, are pickpockets as well as fingers of nonfenfical ballads.


This line has fufperfuaded the old the winter's pale; now reigns o'er the


For the red blood reigns in the winter's pale.] fered a great variety of alterations, but I am reading is the true one. The firft folio has and the meaning is, the red, the Spring blood parts lately under the dominion of winter. The English pale, the Irish pale, were frequent expreffions in Shakspeare's time; and the words red and pale were chofen for the sake of the antithefis.


Dr. Farmer is certainly right. I had offered this explanation to Dr. Johnton, who rejected it. In K. Henry V. our author says: the English beach


،، Pales in the flood, &c.

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"Whate'er the ocean pales, or fky inclips."

Holinfhed, p. 528, calls Sir Richard Afton, ،، Lieutenant of the English pale, for the earle of Summerfet." Again, in King Henry VI. P. I:

،، How are we park'd, and bounded in a pale. "


7 The white Sheet bleaching, &c.] So, in the fong at the end of Love's Labour's Loft, SPRING mentions as defcriptive of that feafon, that then " maidens bleach their fummer Smocks."


pugging tooth } Sir T. Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, read-progging tooth. It is certain that pugging is not now underfood. But Dr. Thirlby obferves, that it is the cant of gypfies. JOHNSON.

The word pugging is used by Greene in one of his pieces; and a puggard was a cant name for fome particular kind of thief. So, in The Roaring Girl, 1611:

Of cheaters, lifters, nips, foifts, puggards, curbers."

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The lark, that tirra-lirra chants. 9


With, hey! with, hey! the thrush and the jay:
Are fummer fongs for me and my aunts,
While we lie tumbling in the hay:

I have ferv'd prince Florizel, and, in my time, wore three-pile; but now I am out of fervice:.


The lark, that tirra-lirra chants. ]

La gentille alouette avec fon tire-lire

Tire lire a lire & tire-lirant tire

Vers la voute du Ciel, puis fon vol vers ce lieu
Vire & defire dire adieu Dieu, adieu Dieu.

Du Bartas. Liv. 5. de fa première femaine.
Ecce fuum tirile tirile: fuum tirile tradat.

Linnai Fauna Suecica.

So, in an ancient poem entitled, The Silke Worms and their Flies,


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"Let Philomela fing, let Progne chide,
"Let Tyry-tyry-leerers upward flie-.

In the margin the author explains Tyryleerers by its fynonyme, larks. MALONE,


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my aunts,] Aunt appears to have been at this time a cant word for a bawd. In Middleton's comedy, called, A Trick to catch the old one, 1616, is the following confirmation of its being ufed in that fenfe::-"It was better beltow'd upon his uncle than one of his aunts, I need not fay bawd, for every one knows what aunt ftands for in the laft tranflation." Again, in Ram-alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

"I never knew

"What fleeking, glazing, or what preffing meant,
"Till you preferr'd me to your aunt the lady:

"I knew no ivory teeth, no caps of hair,

"No mercury, water, fucus, or perfumes
"To help a lady's breath, until your aunt
"Learn'd me the common trick.

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Again, in Decker's Honeft Whore, 1635: I'll call you one of my aunts, fifter, that were as good as to call you arrant whore.



wore three-pile; ] i. é rich velvet. So, in Ram-alley or Merry Tricks, 1611:

But fhall I go mourn for that, my dear?
The pale moon fhines by night:
And when I wander here and there,
I then do moft go right.

If tinkers may have leave to live,
And bear the fow-skin budget;
Then my account I well may give,
And in the flocks avouch it.

My traffick is fleets; 3 when the kite builds, look

and line them

"With black, crimson, and tawny three-pil'd velvet."

Again, in Measure for Measure:


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Mafter Tree-pile, the mercer. STEEVENS.

My traffick is fheets; &c.] So, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584:

"Our fingers are lime twigs, and barbers we be,

"To catch fheets from hedges most pleasant to fee." Again, in Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment in Suffolke and Norfolke, &c. by Thomas Churchyard, 4to. no date, Riotte fays If any heere three ydle people needes, "Call us in time, for we are fine for fheetes: "Yea, for a fhift, to fteale them from the hedge, "And lay both fheetes and linnen all to gage.

"We are beft be gone, leaft fome do heare alledge
"We are but roages, and clappe us in the cage.'

Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Beggars Bush:

"To fteal from the hedge both the fhirt and the fheet."


Autolycus means, that his practice was to fteal fheets and large pieces of linen, leaving the smaller pieces for the kites to build with. M. MASON.

When the kite builds, lock to leffer linen.] Leffer linen is an anci ent term, for which our modern laundreffes have fubftituted—small

clothes. STEEVENS.

When the

This paffage, I find, is not generally underftood. good women, in folitary cottages near the woods where kites build, mifs any of their leffer linen, as it hangs to dry on the hedge in fpring, they conclude that the kite has been marauding for a lining to her neft; and there adventurous boys often find it employed for that purpose. HOLT WHITE

to leffer linen. My father named me, Autolycus; 4 who, being, as I am, litter'd under Mercury, was likewife a fuapper-up of unconfidèred trifles: With die, and drab, I purchafed this caparifon; 5 and my revenue is the filly cheat: Gallows, and knock, are too powerful on the highway: beating, and hanging, are terrors to me; for the life to come, I fleep out the thought of it.-A prize! a prize!

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My father nam'd me, Autolycus: &c.] Mr. Theobald says, the allufion is unquestionably to Ovid. He is miftaken. Not only the allufion, but the whole fpeech is taken from Lucian; who ap- pears to have been one of our poet's favourite authors, as may be collected from feveral places of his works. It is from his difcourfe on judicial aftrology, where Autolycus talks much in the fame manner; and 'tis on this account that he is called the fon of Mercury by the ancients, namely becaufe he was born under that planet. And as the infant was fuppofed by the aftrologers to communicate of the nature of the ftar which predominated, fo Autolycus was a thief. WARBURTON.

This piece of Lucian, to which Dr. Warburton refers, was tranflated long before the time of Shakspeare, I have feen it, but it had no date. STEEVENS.


With die, and drab, I purchased this caparifon;] i. e. with gaming and whoring, I brought myself to this fhabby drefs.


6 my revenue is the filly cheat:] Silly is ufed by the writers of our author's time, for fimple, low, mean, and in this the hu mour of the fpeech confifts. I don't afpire to arduous and high things, as Bridewell or the gallows: I am contented with this humble and low way of life, as a Snapper-up of unconfidered trifles: But the Oxford editor, who, by his emendations, feems to have declared war against all Shakspeare's humour, alters it to,--the fly cheat. WARBURTON.

The filly cheat is one of the technical terms belonging to the art of coneycatching or thievery, which Greene has mentioned among the reft, in his treatife on that ancient and honourable science. think it means picking pockets. STEEVENS.


' Gallows, and knock, &c.] The refiftance which a highwayman encounters in the fad, and the punishment which he fuffers on detection, withhold me from daring robbery, and determine me to the filly cheat and petty theft. JOHNSON.

Enter Clown.

CLOWN. Let me fee :-Every 'leven wether tods; every tod yields-pound and odd fhilling: fifteen hundred fhorn,-What comes the wool to? AUT. If the fpringe hold, the cock's mine.

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CLOWN. I cannot do't without counters. Let

tods; ] A tod is twenty-eight pounds of wool. PERCY.

I was led into an errour concerning this paffage by the word tods, which I conceived to be a fubftantive, but which is used ungrammatically as the third perfon fingular of the verb to tod, in concord with the preceding words-every leven wether. The fame difregard of grammar is found in almoft every page of the old copies, and has been properly corrected, but here is in character, and should be preferved.

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Dr. Farmer obferves to me, that to tod is used as a verb by dealers in wool; thus, they fay, "Twenty fheep ought to tod fifty pounds of wool," &c. The meaning therefore of the clown's words is, Every eleven whether tods; i. e. will produce a tod, or twentyeight pounds of wool; every tod yields a pound and some odd fhillings; what then will the wool of fifteen hundred yield?"


The occupation of his father furnished our poet with accurate knowledge on this subject; for two pounds and a half of wool is, I am told, a very good produce from a sheep at the time of fhearing. About thirty fhillings a tod is a high price at this day. It is fingular, as Sir Henry Englefield remarks to me, that there fhould be fo little variation between the price of wool in Shakspeare's time and the present. — In 1425, as I learn from Kennet's Parochial Antiquities, a tod of wool fold for nine fhillings and fix pence.


Every 'leven wether tods ;] This has been rightly expounded to mean that the wool of eleven sheep would weigh a tod, or 28 lb. Each fleece would, therefore, be 2 lb. 8 oz. 11 1⁄2 dr. and the whole produce of fifteen hundred Jhorn 136 tod. glb. 6oz. 2 dr. which at pound and odd fhilling per tod would yield L. 143 3 6. thor was too familiar with the subjed to be fufpe&ted of inaccuracy.

Our au


8 without counters.] By the help of fmall circular pieces of base metal, all reckonings were anciently adjusted among the illiterate and vulgar. Thus Iago, in contempt of Caffio, calls himcounter-cafter. See my note on Othello, A& I. fc. i. STEEVENS.

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