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and his warehouse Picthatch.8
Takes up single testons upon oaths, till doomsday. Falls under executions of three shillings, and enters into five-groat bonds. He way-lays the reports of services, and cons them without book, damning himself he came new from them, when all the while he was taking the diet in the bawdy-house, or lay pawned in his chamber for rent and victuals. He is of that admirable and happy memory, that he will salute one for an old acquaintance that he never saw in his life before. He usurps upon cheats, quarrels, and robberies, which he never did, only to get him a name. His chief exercises are, taking the whiff, squiring a cockatrice, and making privy searches for imparters.1
CLOVE AND ORANGE,
An inseparable case of coxcombs, city born; the Gemini, or twins of foppery; that like a pair of wooden foils, are fit for nothing but to be practised upon. Being well flattered they'll lend money, and repent when they have done. Their glory is to invite players, and make suppers. And in company of better rank, to avoid the suspect of insufficiency, will inforce their ignorance most desperately, to set upon the understanding of any thing. Orange is the most humorous of the two, (whose small portion of juice being squeezed out,) Clove serves to stick him with commendations.
those who, under false pretences of being wounded or disbanded soldiers, wandered about levying contributions on the public. Of odling I can say nothing with certainty, having never met with the word elsewhere: it seems, however, to mean, sidling and shifting about in quest of proper objects for preying upon.
8 His bank Paul's, and his warehouse Picthatch.] Paul's church was the common resort of idlers at this time: here cavalero Shift furnished himself, by skeldring and picking pockets, with the property which he afterwards disposed of among the prostitutes of Picthatch. See Vol. i. p. 16.
He way-lays the reports of services, &c.] Services, in the military language of the time, were bold and daring actions. The word occurs, in the same sense, in Shakspeare, "Such fellows (as Pistol) are perfect in great commanders' names; and they will learn you by rote where services were done," &c. Hen. V. A. iii. S. 6. It is to something of this kind that Cob alludes, when he says that Bobadill promised to pay him his forty shillings at the next action. See Vol. i. p. 30.
1 His chief exercises are taking the whiff, squiring a cockatrice, and making privy searches for imparters.] For taking the whiff, see A. iii. S. 1. Cockatrice is one of the thousand cant names for a strumpet: squiring a cockatrice, therefore, is officiating as bully to
The author's friend; a man inly acquainted with the scope and drift of his plot; of a discreet and understanding judgment; and has the place of a moderator.
Is a person of no action, and therefore we have reason to afford him no character.2
a brothel. Imparters, as the name signifies, were persons drawn in by artful pretences to part with their money to such impudent impostors as Shift. The word is often found in Jonson.
2 The following notice is taken from the quarto. "It was not near his thought that hath published this, either to traduce the author; or to make vulgar and cheap any of the peculiar and sufficient deserts of the actors; but rather (whereas many censures fluttered about it) to give all, leave and leisure to judge with distinction." This was undoubtedly written by Jonson. It is but common justice to add, that this descriptive list is drawn up with great spirit, elegance, and power of discrimination.
AY, my dear Asper.
Mit. Stay your mind.
Who is so patients of this impious world,
Or who hath such a dead unfeeling sense,
1After the second sounding.] These several soundings are in the modern theatre termed first, second, and third music. WHAL. When Whalley wrote this, the theatres opened at four o'clock; since they adopted a later hour they have only given the public first and second music.
2 Enter ASPER, MITIS, and CORDATUS.] The two latter of these Jonson calls the Grex, or Chorus. Like that of the Greeks, they remain on the stage during the whole of the action: but they perform a part not known to the ancient drama. They stand distinct from the scene, and occupy the place of critics. Under the name of Asper the poet intended to shadow out himself; but he has afforded us no traces of Mitis and Cordatus.
3 Who is so patient, &c.] This is from Juvenal :
Nam quis iniquæ
Tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se?
That heaven's horrid thunders cannot wake?
Black, ravenous ruin, with her sail-stretch'd wings,
Asp. You trouble me-and with a whip of steel,
4 Black, ravenous ruin, with her sail-stretch'd wings.] There is a sublimity in this and the preceding lines, which shews us that Jonson could have reached a nobler flight in the greater kinds of poetry, had he not cramped his genius by confining it, in conformity to the prejudices of the age, to a model unworthy of himself, and even not agreeable to his own taste. WHAL.
Either Whalley has not expressed himself clearly, or I do not understand him. If by taste he means natural inclination, as he seems to do, he is evidently incorrect; for Jonson was assuredly not led to Seneca (the model to whom he alludes) by "the prejudices of the age;" but by choice, and a viciousness of judgment peculiar, at this period, to a few recluse scholars. After all, "sublimity" is not Jonson's element; nor can his utmost efforts support him in it long. Strong sense, keen satire, and a full vein of humour less remarkable for elegance than vigour, are his distinguishing characteristics, and appear with unrivalled excellence in the piece before us. The "flights" of which Whalley speaks, have been attempted with more success by others.