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a foot; and so long am I, at the leaft. But wilt thou make a fire, or shall I complain on thee to our mistress, whose hand (she being now at hand,) thou fhalt soon feel, to thy cold comfort, for being Now in thy hot office.

Curt. I pr’ythee, good Grumio, tell me, How goes the world?

Gru. A cold world, Curtis, in every office but thine ; and, therefore, fire: Do thy duty, and have thy duty ; for my master and mistress are almost frozen to death.

Curt. There's fire ready; And therefore, good Grumio, the news?

Gru. Why, Jack boy! bo boy !3 and as much news as thou wilt.*

* --why, thy horn is a foot; and so long am I, at the least.] Though all the copies agree in this reading, Mr. Theobald says, yet he cannot find what horn Curtis had; therefore he alters it to my horn. But the common reading is right, and the meaning is, that he had made Curtis a cuckold. WARBURTON.

3- Jack boy! ho boy!] is the beginning of an old round in three parts.

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Sir J. Hawkins. 4 as thou wilt.] Old copy-wilt thou. Corrected by the cditor of the second folio. MALONE.

Curt. Come, you are so full of conycatching: Gru. Why therefore, fire; for I have caught extreme cold. Where's the cook? is supper ready, the house trimm’d, rushes strew'd, cobwebs swept; the servingmen in their new fustian, their white stockings, and every officer his wedding-garment on ? Be the jacks fair within, the jills fair without, the carpets laid,” and every thing in order?

Curt. All ready; And therefore, I pray thec, news? 8

s- their white flockings,] The old copy reads—the whiteCorrected by the editor of the third folio. MALONE.

0 Be the Jacks fair within, the Jills fair without,] i. e. are the drinking vessels clean, and the maid servants dress’d? But the Oxford editor alters it thus:

Are the Jacks fair without, the Jills fair within? What his conceit is in this, I confess I know not. WARBURTON.

Sir T. Hanmer's meaning seems to be this: “ Are the men who are waiting without the house to receive my master, dress'd; and the maids, who are waiting within, dress’d too ?”

I believe the poet meant to play upon the words Jack and Jill, which fignify two drinking measures, as well as men and maid fervants. The distinction made in the questions concerning them, was owing to this: The Jacks being of leather, could not be made to appear beautiful on the outside, but were very apt to contract foulness within; whereas, the Jills, being of metal, were expected to be kept bright externally, and were not liable to dirt on the inside, like the leather.

The quibble on the former of these words I find in The Atheist's Tragedy, by C. Tourner, 1611:

" — have you drunk yourselves mad?
ot Ser. My lord, the Jacks abus'd me.

" DAm. I think they are Jacks indeed that have abus'd thee.” Again, in The Puritan, 1607 : “ I owe money to several hoftesses, and you know such jills will quickly be upon a man's jack.In this last instance, the allusion to drinking measures is evident.

STEEVENS. 1- the carpets laid,] In our author's time it was customary to cover tables with carpets. Floors, as appears from the prefent passage and others, were strewed with rushes. MALONE.

8 — I pray thee, news?] I believe the author wrote- pray, thy news. MALONE,

Gru. First, know, my horse is tired; my master and mistress fallen out.

Curt. How? GRU. Out of their saddles into the dirt; And thereby hangs a tale.

Curt. Let's ha’t, good Grumio.
Gru. Lend thine ear.
Curt. Here.
Gru. There.

[Striking him. CURT. This is o to feel a tale, not to hear a tale.

Gru. And therefore 'tis called, a sensible tale : and this cuff was but to knock at your ear, and beseech listening. Now I begin: Imprimis, we came down a foul hill, my master riding behind my mistress:

Curt. Both on one horse ? :
GRU. What's that to thee?
Curt. Why, a horse.. .

GRU. Tell thou the tale: But hadst thou not cross'd me, thou should'st have heard how her horse fell, and she under her horse; thou should'st have heard, in how miry a place: how she was bemoil'd;} how he left her with the horse upon her; how he beat me because her horse stumbled ; how she waded through the dirt to pluck him off me; how he swore; how she pray'd—that never pray'd before ; *

9 This is ] Old copy-This 'tis – Corrected by Mr. Pope.

MALONE. 2 - on one horse?] The old copy reads of one horse?

STEEVENS. 3 — bemoil'd;] i. e. be-draggled; bemired. Steevens.

4 - how he swore; how the pray'dthat never pray'd before ;] These lines, with little variation, are found in the old copy of King Leir, published before that of Shakspeare. STEVENS,

how I cried; how the horses ran away; how her

bridle was burst; 4 how I lost my crupper ;-with · many things of worthy memory; which now fhall

die in oblivion, and thou return unexperienced to thy grave.

Curt. By this reckoning, he is more fhrew than

she.

Gru. Ay; and that thou and the proudest of you all shall find, when he comes home. But what talk I of this ?-call forth Nathaniel, Jofeph, Nicholas, Philip, Walter, Sugarsop, and the rest: let their heads be sleekly combed, their blue coats brushed, and their garters of an indifferent knit :'

4 was burst;] i. e. broken. So, in the firft scene of this play: “ You will not pay for the glasses you have burft ?."

STEEVENS. s their blue coats brush'd] The dress of servants at the time. So, in Decker's Belman's Night Walkes, fig. E. 3: “ - the other act their parts in blew coates, as they were their serving men, though indeed they be all fellowes." Again, in The Curtain Drawer of the World, 1612, p. 2: “ Not a feruing man dare appeare in a blew coat, not because it is the livery of charity, but left he should be thought a retainer to their enemy." Reed.

6 garters of an indifferent knit:] What is the sense of this I know not, unless it means, that their garters should be fellows: indifferent, or not different, one from the other. JOHNSON, This is rightly explained. So, in Hamlet:

" As the indifferent children of the earth.” Again, in King Richard II:

Look on my wrongs with an indifferent eye." i. e. an impartial one. Steevens.

Perhaps by “ garters of an indifferent knit," the author meant parti-coloured garters; garters of a different knit. In Shakspeare's time indifferent was sometimes used for different. Thus Speed, (Hift. of Gr. Brit. p. 770,) describing the French and English armies at the battle of Agincourt, says, “ - the face of these hoats were diverse and indifferent.

That garters of a different knit were formerly worn, appears from TEXNOTAMIA, or the Marriages of the Arts, by Barton Holyday, 1630, where the following stage direction occurs. « Phantaftes in

let them curt’fy with their left legs; and not presume to touch a hair of my master's horse-tail, till they kiss their hands. Are they all ready?

Curt. They are.
Gru. Call them forth.

Curt. Do you hear, ho? you must meet my mala ter, to countenance my mistress.

Gru. Why, she hath a face of her own.
Curt. Who knows not that?

GRU. Thou, it seems; that call'st for company to countenance her.

Curt. I call them forth to credit her.
Gru. Why, she comes to borrow nothing of them,

Enter several Servants.

NATH. Welcome home, Grumio.
Phil. How now, Grumio ?
Fos. What, Grumio!
Nich. Fellow Grumio!
Nath. How now, old lad?

Gru. Welcome, you ;-how now, you ;-what, you ;-fellow, you ;-and thus much for greeting. Now, my spruce companions, is all ready, and all things neat?

NATH. All things is ready :? How near is our master ?

a branched velvet jerkin, red filk stockings, and parti-coloured garters.Malone.

7 All things is ready:] Though in general it is proper to correct the false concords that are found in almoft every page of the old copy, here it would be improper; because the language suits the character. MALONE.

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