« PreviousContinue »
Which, like the meteors of a troubled heaven,
In forwarding this dear expedience.
And many limits of the charge set down
brother's blood from thy hand.” The terms entrance and mouth are convertible even now-as the mouth of a river, for the entrance of a river.
But Malone gives a passage in the old · King John' of 1591, which, he says, may throw some light on that before us :
“ Is all the blood y-spilt on either part,
Closing the crannies of the thirsty earth,
Grown to a love-game and a bridal feast?" A correspondent, who lighted upon this passage, would read
“No more the thirsty crannies of this soil
Shall daub their lips with her own children's blood.” • Levy. Gifford (Ben Jonson, v. 138) has properly rebuked the rash disposition of Steevens to meddle with the text, in a remark upon the passage before us. Steevens says, to levy a power as far as to the sepulchre of Christ is an expression quite unexampled, if not corrupt; and he proposes to read kad. “ The expression is neither unexampled nor corrupt," says Gifford, “but good authorised English. One instance of it is before me: 'Scipio, before he levied his force to the walles of Carthage, gave his soldiers the print of the citie in & cake to be devoured.'-Gosson's School of Abuse,' 1587."
Therefore we meet not now. We do not meet now on that account. • Limits. To limit is to define; and therefore the limits of the charge may be the calculations, the estimates.
Leading the men of Herefordshire to fight
Without much shame, re-told or spoken of.
Brake off our business for the Holy Land.
For more uneven and unwelcome news
Uncertain of the issue any way.
Sir Walter Blunt, new lighted from his horse,
· Corpses. So the folio; the quartos, corpse.
o Welshwomen, &c. The story is told in Walsingham, and may be found in Andrews's · History of Great Britain,' vol. i., part ii., p. 4. • The first quarto, which has been followed in modern editions, reads thus:-
“ This, match'd with other, did, my gracious lord,
For more uneven and unwelcome news
Came from the north, and thus it did import." The quarto of 1604 has like, for, and import. We retain the reading of the folio, substituting for in the place of far.
Balk'd. To balk is to raise into ridges, as in Minshew_"to balke, or make a balk in earing of land." Thus, the ten thousand bold Scots, balk'd in their own blood, are the slain heaped up the "hills of dead" of Pope's translation of the Iliad.' Some conjecture the passage ought to be “bak'd in their own blood,"—as in Heywood's 'Iron Age,'
“Troilus lies embak'd In his cold blood."
Mordake earl of Fife, and eldest son
A gallant prize ? ha, cousin, is it nota ?
It is a conquest for a prince to boast of.
In envy that my lord Northumberland
I shall have none but Mordake earl of Fife.
Malevolent to you in all aspects;
The crest of youth against your dignity.
And, for this cause, awhile we must neglect
Than out of anger can be uttered.
• All the quarto editions, and the folio, make the King answer himself" In faith, it is." was probably not an error.
SCENE II.-The same. Another Room in the Palace.
Enter HENRY PRINCE OF WALES, and FALSTAFF. FAL. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad ? P. Hen. Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning
thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flamecoloured taffata; I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to
demand the time of the day. FAL. Indeed, you come near me, now, Hal: for we, that take purses, go by the
moon and seven stars; and not by Phoebus,-he, that wandering knight so fair? And, I prithee, sweet wag, when thou art king, -as, God save thy
grace, (majesty, I should say; for grace thou wilt have none, P. HEN. What! none ? Fal. No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and
butter. P. HEN. Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly. FAL. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us that are squires of
the knight's body be called thieves of the day's beauty a; let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon: And let men say, we be men of good government; being governed as the sea is, by our noble
and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal. P. HEN. Thou say'st well; and it holds well too: for the fortune of us, that are
the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea; being governed as the sea is, by the moon. As for proof b. Now, a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night, and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing-lay byc; and spent with crying-bring ind: now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder: and, by and by, in as high a flow as the
ridge of the gallows. FAL. Thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet
wench? P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff
jerkin a most sweet robe of durance.
• Day's beauty. Perhaps beauty is meant to be pronounced booty, as it is sometimes provincially.
As for proof. We point this according to the punctuation of the old copies. Modern editions read, As for proof, now.
• Lay by—stop. To lay by, in navigation, is to slacken sail. & Bring in the call to the drawers for more wine.
• Old lad of the castle. Lad of the castle was a somewhat common term in Shakspere's time, and is found in several contemporary writers. Farmer says it meant lad of Castile-a Castilian. The passage in the text, in connection with other circumstances, has given rise to the notion that Sir John Oldcastle was pointed at in the character of Falstaff. (See Introductory Notice.)
* Robe of durance. The buff-jerkin, the coat of ox-skip (boeuf), was worn by sheriffs' offi
P. HEN. Whague have I to do wag? what, in the
Well, thou hast a poz have Ith a buf jerkin thy quips and
Fal. How now, how now, mad wag? what, in thy quips and thy quiddities?
what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin ? P. HEN. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern ? FAL. Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft. P. Hen. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part ? Fal. No; I 'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there. P. Hen. Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch; and where it
would not I have used my credit. FAL. Yea, and so used it, that were it not here apparent that thou art heir
apparent,-But, I prithee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king ? and resolution thus fobbed as it is with the rusty curb of old father antic the law? Do not thou, when thou art king,
hang a thief. P. HEN. No; thou shalt. FAL. Shall I? O rare! I 'll be a brave judge. P. Hen. Thou judgest false already; I mean, thou shalt have the hanging of
· the thieves, and so become a rare hangman. Fal. Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humour, as well as
waiting in the court, I can tell you. P. Hen. For obtaining of suits ? Fal. Yea, for obtaining of suits : whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe.
I am as melancholy as a gib cata, or a lugged bear. P. HEN. Or an old lion; or a lover's lute. Tal. Yea, or the drone of a Lincolnshire bagpipe. P. HEN. What say'st thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch”? Fal. Thou hast the most unsavoury similes; and art, indeed, the most com.
parative, rascallest, sweet young prince. But Hal, I prithee trouble me no more with vanity. I would thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought! An old lord of the council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir; but I marked him not: and yet he talked very
wisely; but I regarded him not: and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too. P. HEN. Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man
regards it. FAL. O, thou hast damnable iteration b: and art, indeed, able to corrupt a saint.
Thou hast done much harm unto me, Hal,-God forgive thee for it! Before
cers. It was a robe of durance, an "everlasting garment," as in 'The Comedy of Errors;'--but it was also a robe of " durance" in a sense that would not furnish an agreeable association to one who was always in debt and danger, as Falstaff was.
• Gib cat. Gib and Tib were old English names for a male cat. We have Tybalt called “king of cats" in Romeo and Juliet.' Tyb rt is the cat in "Reynard the Fox. Chaucer, in 'The Romaunt of the Rose,' gives “ Gibbe," as the translation of “ Thibert," the cat. The name appears to have been applied to an old male cat, whose gravity approaches to the character of melancholy.
Iteration-repetition-not mere citation, as some have thought. Falstaff does not complain only of Hal's quoting a scriptural text, but that he has been retorting and distorting the meaning of his words throughout the scene. For example, Falstaff talks of the sun and moon—the Prince retorts with the sea and moon; Falstaff uses hanging in one sense the Prince in another; so of judging; and so in the passage which at last provokes Falstaff's complaint.