Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

preserve the manners of the time. Pistols were not known in the age of Henry. Pistols were, I believe, about our author's time eminently used by the Scots. Sir Henry Wotton somewhere makes mention of a Scottish pistol. JOHNSON. Line 722. -blue-caps-] A name of ridicule given to the Scots from their blue-bonnets. JOHNSON.

Line 724. -you may buy land &c.] In former times the prosperity of the nation was known by the value of land, as now by the price of stocks. Before Henry the Seventh made it safe to serve the King regnant, it was the practice at every revolution, for the conqueror to confiscate the estates of those that opposed, and perhaps of those who did not assist him. Those, therefore, that foresaw the change of government, and thought their estates in danger, were desirous to sell them in haste for something that might be carried away. JOHNSON. Line 755. Well, here is my leg.] That is, my obeisance to my father. JOHNSON.

Line 771.

though the camomile, &c.] This whole speech is supremely comick. The simile of camomile, used to illustrate a contrary effect, brings to my remembrance an observation of a late writer of some merit, whom the desire of being witty has betrayed into a like thought. Meaning to enforce with great vehemence the mad temerity of young soldiers, he remarks, that "though Bedlam be in the road to Hogsden, it is out of the way to promotion." JOHNSON. Line 780. -a micher;] i. e. truant; to mich is to lurk out of sight, a hedge-creeper WARBURTON. The allusion is to a truant boy, who unwilling to go to school, and afraid to go home, lurks in the fields, and picks wild fruits. JOHNSON.

Line 810. rabbet-sucker, &c.] Is, I suppose, a sucking rabbet. The jest is in comparing himself to something thin and little. So a poulterer's hare; a hare hung up by the hind legs without a skin, is long and slender. JOHNSON.

Line 825.

bolting-hutch-] The bolting is the separation of the flour from the bran, and the trough which receives the flour

is called the hutch.

Line 826. barrel for wine.

that huge bombard of sack,] A bombard is a

[ocr errors]

Line 828. Maningtree or--] Maningtree in Essex, and the neighbourhood of it, are famous for richness of pasture. The farms thereabouts are chiefly tenanted by graziers. Some ox of an unususal size was, I suppose, roasted there on an occasion of publick festivity, or exposed for money to publick show. STEEVENS. Line 829. that reverend vice, that grey iniquity,—that vanity in years?] The Vice, Iniquity, and Vanity, were personages exhibited in the old moralities. MALONE.

Line 833. -cunning,] Cunning was not yet debased to a bad meaning; it signified knowing, or skilful. JOHNSON.

Line 879. -hide thee behind the arras;] The bulk of Falstaff made him not the fittest to be concealed behind the hangings, but every poet sacrifices something to the scenery. If Falstaff had not been hidden, he could not have been found asleep, nor had his pockets searched. JOHNSON. Line 927. -I know, his death will be a march of twelvescore.] i. e. it will kill him to march so far as twelve-score yards. JOHNSON.

ACT III. SCENE I.

Line 2.

- 14.

-induction-] That is, entrance; beginning. JOHNS. -at my nativity, &c.] Most of these prodigies appear to have been invented by Shakspeare. Holinshed says only: "Strange wonders happened at the nativity of this man; for the same night he was born, all his father's horses in the stable were found to stand in blood up to their bellies." STEEVENS.

In the year 1402, a blazing star appeared, which the Welsh bards represented as portending good fortune to Owen Glendower. MALONE.

Line 16. Of burning cressets;] A Cresset was a light-house, a watch-tower, a fire beacon.

Line 31. Diseased nature-] The poet has here taken, from the perverseness and contrariousness of Hotspur's temper, an opportunity of raising his character, by a very rational and phi losophical confutation of superstitious error. JOHNSON.

Line 44. The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.] Shakspeare appears to have been as well acquainted with the rarer phænomena, as with the ordinary appearances of nature. A writer

in The Philosophical Transactions, No. 207, describing an earthquake in Catanea, near Mount Etna, by which eighteen thousand persons were destroyed, mentions one of the circumstances that are here said to have marked the birth of Glendower: "There was a blow, as if all the artillery in the world had been discharged at once; the sea retired from the town above two miles; the birds flew about astonished; the cattle in the fields ran crying.”

MALONE.

Line 118.

-cantle out.] A cantle is a piece with corners. 144. For I was train'd up in the English court:] Owen Glendower, whose real name was Owen ap-Gryffyth Vaughan, took the name of Glyndour or Glendour from the lordship of Glyndourdwy, of which he was owner. He was particularly adverse to the Mortimers, because Lady Percy's nephew, Edmund Earl of Mortimer, was rightfully entitled to the principality of Wales (as well as the crown of England,) being lineally descended from Gladys the daughter of Lhewelyn, and sister of David Prince of Wales, the latter of whom died in the year 1246. Owen Glendower himself claimed the principality of Wales.

He afterwards became esquire of the body to K. Richard II. with whom he was in attendance at Flint Castle, when Richard was taken prisoner by Henry of Bolingbroke, afterwards King Henry IV. Owen Glendower was crowned Prince of Wales in the year 1402, and for near twelve years was a very formidable enemy to the English. He died in great distress in 1415.

MALONE.

152.

Line 147. the tongue-] The English language. JOHNS. —a brazen canstick turn'd,] Canstick for candlestick. 172. —of the moldwarp and the ant,] So Holinshed, for he was Shakspeare's authority: "This [the division of the realm between Mortimer, Glendower, and Percy,] was done (as some have sayde) through a foolish credite given to a vaine prophecie, as though king Henry was the molde-warpe, cursed of God's owne mouth, and they three were the dragon, the lion, and the wolfe, which should divide this realm between them." MALOne. Line 190. -profited

In strange concealments;] Skilled in wonderful
JOHNSON.

secrets.

Line 240. Sung by a fair queen &c.] Our author perhaps here

intended a compliment to Queen Elizabeth, who was a performer on the lute and the virginals. See Sir James Melvil's curious ac count. Memoirs, folio, p. 50. MALONE. She bids you

Line 244.

Upon the wanton rushes lay you down,] It was the custom in this country, for many ages, to strew the floors with rushes, as we now cover them with carpets. JOHNSON.

Line 250. Making such difference 'twixt wake and sleep,] She will lull you by her song into soft tranquillity, in which you shall be so near to sleep as to be free from perturbation, and so much awake as to be sensible of pleasure; a state partaking of sleep and wakefulness, as the twilight of night and day. JOHNSON. JOHNSON.

Line 255. our book,] Our paper of conditions.

-292. velvet-guards,] To such as have their clothes adorned with shreds of velvet, which was, I suppose, the finery of cockneys. JOHNSON.

Line 295. -'Tis the next way to turn tailor, &c.] I suppose Percy means, that singing is a mean quality, and therefore he excuses his lady. JOHNSON.

ACT III. SCENE II.

Line 328. Yet such extenuation let me beg, &c.] The construction is somewhat obscure. Let me beg so much extenuation, that, upon confutation of many false charges, I may be pardoned some that are true. I should read on reproof, instead of in reproof; but concerning Shakspeare's particles there is no certainty. JOHNSON.

Line 331.

-pick-thanks,] i. e. whispering parasites.

-350. —loyal to possession;] True to him that had then possession of the crown.

JOHNSON.

Line 368. -rash bavin wits,] Rash is heady, thoughtless: bavin is brushwood, which, fired, burns fiercely, but is soon out.

JOHNSON.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In Shakspeare's time bavin was used for kindling fires. See Florio's Second Frutes, 4to. 1591, ch. i: "There is no fire.Make a little blaze with a bavin.” MALONE.

Line 369.carded his state;] To card does not mean to mix coarse wool with fine, but simply to work wool with a card or teazel, so as to prepare it for spinning. MALONE.

Line 372. And gave his countenance, against his name,] Made his presence injurious to his reputation. JOHNSON.

Line 374. Of every beardless vain comparative:] Of every boy whose vanity incited him to try his wit against the King's.

When Lewis XIV. was asked, why, with so much wit, he never attempted raillery, he answered, that he who practised raillery ought to bear it in his turn, and that to stand the butt of raillery was not suitable to the dignity of a king. Scudery's Conversation. JOHNSON. Line 376. Enfeoff'd himself to popularity:] To enfeoff is a term in law, meaning to invest with dignities or possessions.

Line 407. He hath more worthy interest to the state,

Than thou, the shadow of succession:] This is obscure. I believe the meaning is-Hotspur hath a right to the kingdom more worthy than thou, who hast only the shadowy right of lineal succession, while he has real and solid power. JOHNS. -dearest-] Dearest is most fatal, most misJOHNSON.

Line 432.

chievous.

Line 492. Advantage feeds him fat,] i. e. feeds himself.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Line 501. a brewer's horse:] I suppose a brewer's horse was apt to be lean with hard work.

JOHNSON.

Line 520. the knight of the burning lamp.] This is a natural picture. Every man who feels in himself the pain of de-, formity, however, like this merry knight, he may affect to make sport with it among those whom it is his interest to please, is ready to revenge any hint of contempt upon one whom he can use with freedom.. JOHNSON. Line 539. —good cheap,] Cheap is market, and good cheap therefore is a bon marché. JOHNSON. Line 547. -dame Partlet-] Dame Partlet was the name given to a hen in an old story book of Reynard the Fox.

Line 575. What call you rich?] A face set with carbuncles is called a rich face. Legend of Capt. Jones. JOHNSON. Line 584. the prince is a Jack,] This term of contempt occurs frequently in our author. In The Taming of the Shrew, Katharine calls her musick-master in derision a twangling Jack.

MALONE.

Line 589. Newgate-fashion.] As prisoners are conveyed to Newgate, fastened two and two together.

JOHNSON.

« AnteriorContinuar »