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metans, as men obliged by their own principles to make war upon Christians, and only lying in wait till opportunity shall promise them success. JOHNSON. -this dear expedience.] For expedition. WARB. -35. And many limits-] Limits for estimates. WARB. -45. By those Welshwomen done,] See Holinshed, p. 528: "-such shameful villanie executed upon the carcasses of the dead men by the Welshwomen; as the like (I doo believe) hath never or sildome beene practised." STEEVENS.
Line 104. Which makes him prune himself,] The metaphor is taken from a cock, who in his pride prunes himself; that is, picks off the loose feathers to smooth the rest. To prune and to plume, spoken of a bird, is the same. JOHNSON. Line 113. Than out of anger can be uttered.] That is, "More is to be said than anger will suffer me to say: more than can issue from a mind disturbed like mine." JOHNSON.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 119. -to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know.] The prince's objection to the question seems to be, that Falstaff had asked in the night what was the time of the day. JOHNS,
Line 138. -let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be called thieves of the day's beauty ;] This conveys no manner of idea to me. How could they be called thieves of the day's beauty? They robbed by moonshine; they could not steal the fair day-light. I have ventured to substitute booty: and this I take to be the meaning. Let us not be called thieves, the purloiners of that booty, which, to the proprietors, was the purchase of honest labour and industry by day. THEOBALD.
Line 151. got with swearing-lay by ;] i. e. swearing at the passengers they robbed, lay by your arms; or rather, lay by was a phrase that then signified stand still, addressed to those who were preparing to rush forward. WARBURTON. and spent with crying-bring in :] i. e. more MALONE. Line 158. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?] To understand the propriety of the Prince's answer, it must be remarked that the sheriff's officers were formerly clad in
buff. So that when Falstaff asks, whether his hostess is not a sweet wench, the prince asks in return whether it will not be a sweet thing to go to prison by running in debt to this sweet wench. JOHNSON.
Line 189. For obtaining of suits?] Suit, spoken of one that attends at court, means a petition; used with respect to the hangman, means the clothes of the offender. JOHNSON. -a gib cat,] A gib cat means, I know not why, JOHNSON.
an old cat.
A gib'd cat is most probably a he-cat; and the meaning here must be a cat mutilated.
Line 196. -a hare,] A hare may be considered as melancholy, because she is upon her form always solitary; and, according to the physick of the times, the flesh of it was supposed to generate melancholy. JOHNSON.
Line 197. the melancholy of Moor-ditch?] It appears from Stowe, that there was a broad ditch, known by the name of Deepditch, which formerly separated the Hospital from the Moor-fields.
So, in Taylor's Pennylesse Pilgrimage, quarto, 1618: "-my body being tired with travel, and my mind attired with moody, muddy, Moore-ditch melancholy." MALONE. -the most comparative,] Comparative here means quick at comparisons, or fruitful in similes, and is properly introduced. JOHNSON.
Line 210. 0, thou hast damnable iteration ;] For iteration Sir T. Hanmer and Dr. Warburton read attraction, of which the meaning is certainly more apparent; but an editor is not always to change what he does not understand. In the last speech a text is very indecently and abusively applied, to which Falstaff answers, thou hast damnable iteration, or a wicked trick of repeating and applying holy texts. This, I think, is the meaning. JOHNSON.
Line 263. —if thou darest not stand, &c.] The modern reading [cry stand] may perhaps be right; but I think it necessary to remark, that all the old editions read-if thou darest not stand for ten shillings. JOHNSON.
Line 286. Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill,] In former editions-Falstaff, Harvey, Rossil, and Gadshill. Thus have we two persons named, as characters in this play, that were never among the dramatis persona. But let us see who they were that
committed this robbery. In the second Act we come to a scene of the highway. Falstaff, wanting his horse, calls out on Hal, Poins, Bardolph, and Peto. Presently Gadshill joins them, with intelligence of travellers being at hand; upon which the Prince says,
"You four shall front 'em in a narrow lane, Ned Poins and I will walk lower." So that the four to be concerned are Falstaff, Bardolph, Peto, and Gadshill. Accordingly, the robbery is committed; and the Prince and Poins afterwards rob them four. In the Boar's-head tavern, the Prince rallies Peto and Bardolph for their running away, who confess the charge. Is it not plain now that Bardolph and Peto were two of the four robbers? And who then can doubt, but Harvey and Rossil were the names of the actors? THEOBALD.
Line 305. for the nonce,] That is, as I conceive, for the occasion. This phrase, which was very frequently, though not always very precisely, used by our old writers, I suppose to have been originally a corruption of corrupt Latin. From pro-nunc, I suppose, came for the nunc, and so for the nonce; just as from adThe Spanish entonces has been formed in the same manner from in-tunc. TYRWHITT. reproof-] Reproof is confutation. JOHNSON. shall I falsify men's hopes ;] To falsify hope is to exceed hope, to give much where men hope for little.
nunc came a-non.
Line 316. -337.
This speech is very artfully introduced to keep the Prince from appearing vile in the opinion of the audience; it prepares them for his future reformation; and, what is yet more valuable, exhibits a natural picture of a great mind offering excuses to itself, and palliating those follies which it can neither justify nor forsake.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 349. I will from henceforth rather be myself,
Mighty, and to be fear'd, than my condition;] i. e. I will from henceforth rather put on the character that becomes me, and exert the resentment of an injured king, than still continue in the inactivity and mildness of my natural disposition.
Line 364. And majesty might never yet endure
The moody frontier of a servant brow.] Frontier
was anciently used for forehead. So Stubbs, in his Anatomy of Abuses, 1595: "Then on the edges of their bolstered hair, which standeth crested round their frontiers, and hanging over their faces," &c. STEEVENS, Line 385. A pouncet-box,] A small box for musk or other perfumes then in fashion: the lid of which being cut with open work, gave it its name; from poinsoner, to prick, pierce, or engrave. WARBURTON.
Line 388. Took it in snuff:] Snuff is equivocally used for anger and a powder taken up the nose. STEEVENS.
Line 425. To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now.] Let what he then said never rise to impeach him, so he unsay it now. JOHNS. Line 437. —and indent with fears,] Perhaps we may read : Shall we buy treason? and indent with peers,
When they have lost and forfeited themselves?
Shall we purchase back a traitor? Shall we descend to a composition with Worcester, Northumberland, and young Percy, who by disobedience have lost and forfeited their honours and themselves? JOHNSON.
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war;] The meaning is, he came not into the enemy's power, but by the chance of war. The king charged Mortimer, that he wilfully betrayed his army, and as he was then with the enemy, calls him revolted Mortimer. Hotspur replies that he never fell off, that is, fell into Glendower's hands, but by the chance of war. JOHNSON.
Line 451. hardiment-] i. e. courage.
-455. Who then, affrighted, &c.] This passage has been censured as sounding nonsense, which represents a stream of water as capable of fear. It is misunderstood. Severn is here not the flood, but the tutelary power of the flood, who was affrighted, and hid his head in the hollow bank. JOHNSON.
Line 457. his crisp head-] i. e. curled head.
498. —an eye of death,] That is, an eye menacing death. Hotspur seems to describe the king as trembling with rage rather than fear. JOHNSON. this canker, Bolingbroke ?] The canker-rose is
Line 535. the dog-rose.
Line 542. disdain'd-] For disdainful. JOHNSON. On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.] That is of a spear laid across. WARBURTON.
Line 562. By heaven, methinks, it were an easy leap,
To pluck bright honour from the pale-fuc'd moon;] Euripides has put the very same sentiment into the mouth of Eteocles: "I will not, madam, disguise my thoughts; I would scale heaven, I would descend to the very entrails of the earth, if so be that by that price I could obtain a kingdom." WARB.
Though I am very far from condemning this speech with Gildon and Theobald, as absolute madness, yet I cannot find in it that profundity of reflection, and beauty of allegory, which Dr. Warburton endeavoured to display. This sally of Hotspur may be, I think, soberly and rationally vindicated as the violent eruption of a mind inflated with ambition, and fired with resentment; as the boasted clamour of a man able to do much, and eager to do more; as the hasty motion of turbulent desire; as the dark expression of indetermined thoughts. The passage from Euripides is surely not allegorical, yet it is produced, and properly, as parallel. JOHNS.
Line 569. But out upon this half-fac'd fellowship!] A coat is said to be faced, when part of it, as the sleeves or bosom, is covered with something finer or more splendid than the main substance. The mantua-makers still use the word. Half-fac'd fellowship is then "partnership but half-adorned, partnership which yet wants half the show of dignities and honours." JOHNSON. Line 570. a world of figures here,] Figure is here used equivocally. As it is applied to Hotspur's speech it is a rhetorical mode; as opposed to form, it means appearance or shape.
Line 596. And that same sword-and-buckler prince of Wales,] A royster or turbulent fellow, that fought in taverns, or raised disorders in the streets, was called a Swash-buckler. In this sense sword-and-buckler is here used. JOHNSON. Line 619. what a candy deal of courtesy-] i. e. what a deal of candy courtesy. MALONE. Line 621. Alluding to what JOHNSON. by raising of a head:] A head is a body of
passed in King Richard, Act. II. sc. iii.
Line 656. forces.
infant fortune came to age,]