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Falstaff will learn the humour of this age,
[Exeunt Falstaff and Robin. Pist. Let vultures gripe thy guts !} for gourd,
and fullam holds, And high and low beguile the rich and poor:*
- the humour of this age,] Thus the 4to, 1619: The folio reads the honor of the
Steevens. 3 Let vultures gripe thy guts !] This hemiftitch is a burlesque on a passage in Tamburlaine, or The Scythian Shepherd, of which play a more particular account is given in one of the notes to Henry IV. P. II. Act II. sc. iv. Steevens. I suppose the following is the passage intended to be ridiculed :
-and now doth ghastly death “ With greedy talents (talons] gripe my bleeding heart,
“ And like a harper [harpy) tyers on my life." Again, ibid :
Griping our bowels with retorted thoughts." MALONE.
for gourd, and fullam holds, And high and low beguile the rich and poor:] Fullam is a cant term for false dice, high and low. Torriano, in his Italian Dica tionary , interprets Pise by false dice, high and low men, high fullams and low fullams. Jonson, in his Every Man out of his Humour, quibbles upon this cant term: Who,
he serve? He keeps high men and low men, he has a fair living at Fullam.”-As for gourd, or rather gord, it was another instrument of gaming, as appears from Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady: " And thy dry bones can Teach at nothing now, but GORDS or nine-pins." WARBURTON.
In The London Prodigal I find the following enumeration of false dice.
" I bequeath two bale of false dice, videlicet, high men and loww men, fulloms, stop cater-traies, and other bones of function."
Green, in his Art of Juggling, &c. 1612, fays, " What should I say more of false dice, of fulloms, high men, lowe men, gourds, and brizled dice, graviers, demies, and contraries ?".
Again, in The Bell-man of London, by Decker, 5th edit. 1640; among the false dice are enymerated, “ a bale of fullams.”—A bale of gordes, with as many high-men as low-men for passage.”
STEEVENS. Gourds were probably dice in which a secret cavity had been
Tester I'll have in pouch, when thou shalt lack, Base Phrygian Turk!
Nrm. I have operations in my head, which be humours of revenge.
Pist. Wilt thou revenge?
Nrm. With both the humours, I:
How Falstaff, varlet vile,
And his soft couch defile.
made; fullams, those which had been loaded with a small bit of lead. High men and low men, which were likewise cant terms, explain themselves. High numbers on the dice, at hazard, are from five to twelve, inclusive; low, from aces to four. Malone.
High and low men were false dice, which, being chiefly made at Fulham, were thence called “
high and low Fulhams.' The high Fulhams were the numbers, 4, 5, and 6. See the manner in which these dice were made, in The Complete Gamester, p. 12. edit
. 1676, 12mo. Douce.
in my head,] These words which are omitted in the folio, were recovered by Mr. Pope from the early quarto.
MALONE. 6 I will discuss the humour of this love to Page.] The folio reads : " — to Ford;" but the very reverse of this happens. See AA II. where Nym makes the discovery to Page, and not to Ford, as here promised; and Piftol, on the other hand, to Ford, and not to Page. Shakspeare is frequently guilty of these little forgetfulnesses.
STEEVENS. The folio reads—to Ford; and in the next line-and I to Page, &c. But the reverse of this (as Mr. Steevens has observed) happens in Act II. where Nym makes the discovery to Page, and Pistol to Ford. I have therefore corrected the text from the old quarto, where Nym declares he will make the discovery to Page; and Pistol says, " And I to Ford will likewise tell —" MALONE.
Nrm. My humour shall not cool: I will incense Page? to deal with poison; I will possess him with yellowness, for the revolt of mien is dangerous : that is my true humour.
Pist. Thou art the Mars of malcontents: I second thee; troop on.
7 I will incense Page, &c.] So, in K. Henry VIII:
“ A moft arch heretic-"
-yellowness,] Yellowness is jealousy. Johnson. So, in Law Tricks, &c. 1608:
“ If you have me, you must not put on yellows."
Flora well, perdie,
- the revolt of mien -] The revolt of mine is the old reading. Revolt of mien, is change of countenance, one of the effects he has just been ascribing to jealousy. Steevens.
This, Mr. Steevens truly observes to be the old reading, and it is authority enough for the revolt of mien in modern orthography. “ Know you that fellow that walketh there? says Eliot, 1593 he is an alchymift by his mine, and hath multiplied all to moonThine.” FARMER.
Nym means, I think, to say, that kind of change in the complexion, which is caused by jealousy, renders the perfon podeled by such a paffron dangerous; confequently Ford will be likely to revenge himself on Falstaff, and I fall be gratified. I believe our author wrote that revolt, &c. though I have not disturbed the text. ye and yt in the Mss. of his time were easily confounded. MALONE.
A Room in Dr. Caius's House.
Enter Mrs. QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and Rugby.' Quick. What; John Rugby!—I pray thee, go
, to the casement, and see if you can see my master, master Doctor Caius, coming: if he do, i’faith, and find any body in the house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience, and the king's English. Rug. I'll go watch.
[Exit Rugby. Quick. Go; and we'll have a poffet for’t soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire. An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come in house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale, nor no breed-bate : 4 his worst fault is, that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish that way :s but nobody but has his fault;
Rugby.) This domestic of Dr. Caius received his name from a town in Warwickshire, STEEVÈN'S.
at the latter end, &c.] That is, when my master is in bed. JOHNSON.
4 no breed-bate :) Bate is an obsolete word, signifying ftrife, contention. So, in the Countess of Pembroke's Antonius, 1595:
" Shall ever civil bate
“ Gnaw and devour our state ?" Again, in Acolaftus, a comedy, 1540:
“ We hall not fall at bate, or ftryve for this matter." Stanyhurst, in his translation of Virgil, 1582, calls Erinnys a make-bate. STEEVENS.
S-he is fomething peevish that way :] Peevish is foolish. So, in Cymbeline, Act II: "- he's strange and peevill.' ” Steevens.
I believe, this is one of dame Quickly's blunders, and that she means precise. Malone.
—but let that pass. Peter Simple, you say your name is?
Sim, Ay, for fault of a better.
Quick. Does he not wear a great round beard, like a glover's paring-knife?
Sim. No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a little yellow beard; a Cain-colour'd beard.8
- a great round beard, &c.] See a note on K. Henry V. Act III. sc. vi: “And what a beard of the general's cut,” &c. Malonę.
7 a little wee face,] Wee, in the northern dialect, signifies very little. Thus, in the Scottish proverb that apologizes for a little woman's marriage with a big man: A wee mouse will creep under a mickle cornstack.” Collins.
So, in Heywood's Fair Maid of the Wej, a comedy, 1631: “ He was nothing so tall as I; but a little wee man, and somewhat hutch-back'd.” Again, in The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600 :
« Some two miles, and a wee bit, fir." Wee is derived from weenig, Dutch. On the authority of the 4to, 1619, we might be led to read whey-face: “ – Somewhat of a weakly man, and has as it were a whey-coloured beard." Macbeth calls one of the messengers Whey-face. Steevens.
Little wee is certainly the right reading; it implies fomething extremely diminutive, and is a very common vulgar idiom in the North. Wee alone, has only the fignification of litle. Thus Cleveland:
“ A Yorkshire wee bit, longer than a mile.” The proverb is a mile and a wee bit; i. e. about a league and a half. Ritson.
8 a Cain-colour'd beard.] Cain and Judas, in the tapestries and pictures of old, were represented with yellow beards,
THEOBALD. Theobald's conjecture may be countenanced by a parallel expression in an old play called Blurt Master Constable, or, The Spaniard's Night-Walk, 1602 :