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Of you, my sons; nor, till this present hour,
My heavy burdens are delivered:-
The duke, my husband, and my children both,
• And you the calendars of their nativity,
Go to a gossip's feast, and go with me;
After so long grief, such nativity!2



DUKE. With all my heart, I'll gossip at this feast. [Exeunt Duke, Abbess, ÆGEON, Courtezan, Merchant, ANGELO, and Attendants.

DRO. S. Master, shall I fetch your stuff from shipboard?

-nor, till this present hour,] The old copy readsand till The emendation was made by Mr. Theobald. Burden, in the next line, was corrected by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.


and go with me;] We should read:

and gaude with me;

i. e. rejoice, from the French, gaudir. WARBURTON. The sense is clear enough without the alteration. The Revisal offers to read, more plausibly, I think:

-joy with me.

Dr. Warburton's conjecture may, however, be countenanced by the following passage in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540:-" I have good cause to set the cocke on the hope, and make gaudye


Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. sc. xi:

"Let's have one other gaudy night."

In the novel of M. Alberto, of Bologna, the author adviseth gentlewomen" to beware how they contrive their holyday talke, by waste wordes issuing forth their delicate mouths in carping, gauding, and jesting at young gentlemen, and speciallye old men," &c. Palace of Pleasure, 1582, Vol. I. fol. 60.



After so long grief, such nativity!] We should surely


After so long grief, such festivity.

Nativity lying so near, and the termination being the same of both words, the mistake was easy. JOHNSON.

The old reading may be right. her sons were not born till now.

She has just said, that to her, STEEVENS.

ANT. E. Dromio, what stuff of mine hast thou

DRO. S. Your goods, that lay at host, sir, in the

ANT. S. He speaks to me; I am your master,

Come, go with us; we'll look to that anon:
Embrace thy brother there, rejoice with him.
[Exeunt ANTIPHOLUS S. and E. ADR. and Luc.
DRO. S. There is a fat friend at your master's

That kitchen'd me for you to-day at dinner;
She now shall be my sister, not my wife.

DRO. E. Methinks, you are my glass, and not my brother:

I see by you, I am a sweet-faced youth.
Will you walk in to see their gossiping?
DRO. S. Not I, sir; you are my elder.

DRO. E. That's a question: how shall we try it? DRO. S. We will draw cuts for the senior: till then, lead thou first.

DRO. E. Nay, then thus:

We came into the world, like brother and brother; And now let's go hand in hand, not one before an[Exeunt.3


3 On a careful revision of the foregoing scenes, I do not hesitate to pronounce them the composition of two very unequal writers. Shakspeare had undoubtedly a share in them; but that the entire play was no work of his, is an opinion which (as Benedick says) "fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake." Thus, as we are informed by Aulus Gellius, Lib. III. cap. 3, some plays were absolutely ascribed to Plautus, which in truth had only been (retractata et expolita) retouched and polished by him.

In this comedy we find more intricacy of plat than distinction of character; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in great measure how the denouement will be brought about. Yet the subject appears to have been reluctantly dismissed, even in this last and unnecessary scene, where the same mistakes are continued, till their power of affording entertainment is entirely lost. STEEVENS.

The long doggrel verses that Shakspeare has attributed in this play to the two Dromios, are written in that kind of metre which was usually attributed, by the dramatick poets before his time, in their comick pieces, to some of their inferior characters; and this circumstance is one of many that authorize us to place the preceding comedy, as well as Love's Labour's Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew, (where the same kind of versification is likewise found,) among our author's earliest productions; composed probably at a time when he was imperceptibly infected with the prevailing mode, and before he had completely learned 66 to deviate boldly from the common track." As these early pieces are now not easily met with, I shall subjoin a few extracts from some of them :



"Royst. If your name to me you will declare and showe, "You may in this matter my minde the sooner knowe, "Tos. Few wordes are best among freends, this is true, "Wherefore I shall briefly show my name unto you. "Tom Tospot it is, it need not to be painted,

"Wherefore I with Raife Roister must needs be aequainted," &c.


[About 1570.]

"Shift. By gogs bloud, my maisters, wee were not best longer here to staie,

"I thinke was never suche a craftie knave before this daie.

[Exeunt Ambo.

This dramatick piece, in its entire state, has not been met with. The only fragment of it known to be existing, is in my possession. STEEVENS.

"Cond. Are thei all gone? Ha, ha, ha, wel fare old Shift

at a neede:

"By his woundes had I not devised this, I had hanged indeede. "Tinkers (qd you) tinke me no tinks; Ile meddle with them

no more;

"I thinke was never knave so used by a companie of tinkers before.

"By your leave Ile bee so bolde as to looke about me and spie, "Least any knaves for my commyng doune in ambush doe lie. By your licence I minde not to preache longer in this tree, My tinkerly slaves are packed hence, as farre as I maie see."&c.

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"The wind is yl blows no man's gaine: for cold I neede not care,

"Here is nine and twentie sutes of apparel for my share; "And some, berlady, very good, for so standeth the case, "As neither gentleman nor other Lord Promos sheweth any


"But I marvel much, poore slaves, that they are hanged so


"They were wont to staye a day or two, now scarce an afternoone." &c.


"You think I am going to market to buy rost meate, do ye


"I thought so, but you are deceived, for I wot what I wot: "I am neither going to the butchers, to buy veale, mutton, or


"But I am going to a bloodsucker, and who is it? faith Usurie, that theefe."



"Quoth Niceness to Newfangle, thou art such a Jacke, "That thou devisest fortie fashions for my ladie's backe. "And thou, quoth he, art so possesst with everie frantick toy, "That following of my ladie's humour thou dost make her coy.

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"For once a day for fashion-sake my lady must be sicke, "No meat but mutton, or at most the pinion of a chicke: "To-day her owne haire best becomes, which yellow is as gold, "A periwig is better for to-morrow, blacke to behold: "To-day in pumps and cheveril gloves to walk she will be bold, "To-morrow cuffes and countenance, for feare of catching cold: "Now is she barefast to be seene, straight on her muffler goes; "Now is she hufft up to the crowne, straight nusled to the


See also Gammer Gurton's Needle, Damon and Pythias, &c.


Printed by S. Hamilton, Weybridge.

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