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Line 613. stewed prune-] Dr. Lodge, in his pamphlet called Wit's Miserie, or the World's Madnesse, 1596, describes a bawd thus: "This is shee that laies wait at all the carriers for wenches new come up to London, and you shall know her dwelling by a dish of stewed prunes in the window; and two or three fleering wenches sit knitting or sowing in her shop." STEEVENS.
Line 614. —maid Marian may be &c.] Maid Marian is a man dressed like a woman, who attends the dancers of the morris. JOHNSON. Line 644. pray God, my girdle break!] This wish had more force formerly than at present, it being once the custom to wear the purse hanging by the girdle; so that its breaking, if not observed by the wearer, was a serious matter. MALONE. impudent, embossed rascal,] Embossed is swoln,
Line 666. -you will not pocket up wrong:] Some part of this merry dialogue seems to have been lost. I suppose Falstaff in pressing the robbery upon his hostess, had declared his resolution not to pocket up wrongs or injuries, to which the Prince alludes.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 40. On any soul remov'd] On any less near to himself; on any whose interest is remote. JOHNSON.
Line 44. -no quailing now;] To quail is to languish. 56. The very list-] The list is the selvage, boundary, the utmost extent.
Line 62. A comfort of retirement-] A support to which we may have recourse. JOHNSON.
Line 67. The quality and hair of our attempt-] The hair seems to be the complexion, the character. The metaphor appears harsh to us, but, perhaps, was familiar in our author's time. We still say something is against the hair, as against the grain, that is, against the natural tendency. JOHNSON.
Line 105. The nimble-footed mad-cap prince of Wales,] Shakspeare rarely bestows his epithets at random. Stowe says of the Prince: "He was passing swift in running, insomuch that he with two other of his lords, without hounds, bow, or other engine, would take a wild buck, or doe, in a large park." STEEVENS.
Line 109. All plum'd like estriges that wing the wind;] All dressed like the Prince himself, the ostrich-feather being the cognizance of the Prince of Wales. GREY.
Line 110. Bated like eagles having lately bath'd;] To bate is, in the style of falconry, to beat the wing, from the French, battre, that is to flutter in preparation for flight. JOHNSON.
Line 116. His cuisses on his thighs,] Cuisses, French. Armour for the thighs. POPE.
The reason why his cuisses are so particularly mentioned, I conceive to be, that his horsemanship is here praised, and the cuisses are that part of armour which most hinders a horseman's activity. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 164.souced gurnet.] A gurnet is a fish very nearly resembling a piper.
It should seem from one of Taylor's pieces, entitled A Bawd, 12mo. 1635, that a sowced gurnet was sometimes used in the same metaphorical sense in which we now frequently use the word gudgeon: "Though she, [a bawd] live after the flesh, all is fish that comes to the net with her ;-She hath baytes for all kinde of frye: a great lord is her Greenland whale; a countrey gentleman is her codshead; a rich citizen's son is her sows'd gurnet, or her gudgeon.” MALONE.
Line 172. -worse than a struck fowl, or a hurt wild-duck.] The repetition of the same image disposed sir Thomas Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, to read, in opposition to all the copies, a struck deer, which is indeed a proper expression, but not likely to have been corrupted. Shakspeare, perhaps, wrote a struck sorrel, which being negligently read by a man not skilled in hunter's language, was easily changed to struck fowl. Sorrel is used in Love's Labour's Lost for a young deer; and the terms of the chase were, in our author's time, familiar to the ears of every gentleJOHNSON.
Line 173. such toasts and butter,]" Londiners, and all within the sound of Bow-bell, are in reproach called cocknies, and caters of buttered tostes." Moryson's Itin. 1617. MALONE. Line 194. -gyves on;] i. e. shackles. РОРБ.
good enough to toss ;] That is to toss upon a JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 259. such great leading,] Such conduct, such experience in martial business. JOHNSON.
Line 321. Upon the naked shore &c.] In this whole speech he alludes again to some passages in Richard the Second. JOHNSON. Line 348. This head of safety;] This army, from which I hope for protection. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
-sealed brief,] A brief is simply a letter. JOHNS. rated sinew too,] A rated sinew signifies a strength on which we reckoned, a help of which we made account. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Act V.] It seems proper to be remarked, that in the editions printed while the author lived, this play is not broken into Acts. The division which was made by the players in the first folio, seems commodious enough; but, being without authority, may be changed by any editor who thinks himself able to make a better. JOHNSON.
-busky hill!] Busky is woody.
Line 2. -5.
-to his purposes;] That is, to the sun's, to that which the sun portends by his unusual appearance. JOHNSON. Line 31. Peace, chewet, peace,] A chewet, or chuet, is a noisy chattering bird, a pie. THEOBALD.
Line 62. As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird,] The cuckoo's chicken, who, being hatched and fed by the sparrow, in whose nest the cuckoo's egg was laid, grows in time able to devour her nurse. JOHNSON.
Line 127. and bestride me,] In the battle of Agincourt, Henry, when king, did this act of friendship for his brother the Duke of Gloucester. STEEVENS.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 157. Suspicion shall be all stuck full of eyes:] The same image of suspicion is exhibited in a Latin tragedy, called Roxana, written about the same time by Dr. William Alabaster. JOHNS. Deliver up
My lord of Westmoreland.] He was "impawned as a surety for the safe return" of Worcester. See Act IV. sc. iii. MALONE. Line 193. And Westmoreland, that was engag'd,] Engag'd is delivered as an hostage. A few lines before, upon the return of Worcester, he orders Westmoreland to be dismissed. JOHNSON.
Line 210. By still dispraising praise, valued with you:] This foolish line is indeed in the folio of 1623, but it is evidently the player's nonsense. WARBURTON,
This line is not only in the first folio, but in all the editions before it, that I have seen. Why it should be censured as nonsense I know not. To vilify praise, compared or valued with merit superior to praise, is no harsh expression. There is another objection to be made. Prince Henry, in his challenge of Percy, had indeed commended him, but with no such hyperboles as might represent him above praise; and there seems to be no reason why Vernon should magnify the Prince's candour beyond the truth. Did then Shakspeare forget the foregoing scene? or are some lines lost from the Prince's speech? JOHNSON.
Line 212. He made a blushing cital of himself:] Cital, i. e. reproof, or impeachment.
Line 248. Now,-Esperance!] This was the word of battle on Percy's side. See Hall's Chronicle, folio 22.
ACT V. SCENE III.
Line 289. -shot-free at London,] A play upon shot, as it means the part of a reckoning, and a missive weapon discharged from artillery. JOHNSON.
Line 292. Here's no vanity!] In our author's time the negative in common speech was used to design, ironically, the excess of a thing. WARBURTON. Line 307. Turk Gregory never did such deeds in arms,]
Meaning Gregory the Seventh, called Hildebrand. This furious friar surmounted almost invincible obstacles to deprive the emperor of his right of investiture of bishops, which his predecessors had long attempted in vain. Fox, in his History, hath made Gregory so odious, that I don't doubt but the good Protestants of that time were well pleased to hear him thus characterized, as uniting the attributes of their two great enemies, the Turk and Pope, in one.
WARBURTON. Line 317. sack a city.) A quibble on the word sack. Johns.
320. If Percy be alive, I'll pierce him.] I rather take the conceit to be this: To pierce a vessel is to tap it. Falstaff takes up his bottle, which the Prince had tossed at his head, and being about to animate himself with a draught, cries: If Percy be alive, I'll pierce him, and so draws the cork. I do not propose this with much confidence.
JOHNSON. Line 322. -a carbonado of me.] A carbonado is a piece of meat cut cross-wise for the gridiron.
ACT V. SCENE IV. Line 415. 0, Harry, thou hast robb’d me of my youth :] Shakspeare has chosen to make Hotspur fall by the hand of the Prince of Wales; but there is, I believe, no authority for the fact. Ho
“The king slew that day with his own hand six and thirty persons of his enemies. The other [i. e. troops] of his party, encouraged by his doings, fought valiantly, and slew the Lord Percy, called Henry Hotspur.” Speed says Percy was killed by an unknown hand.
MALONE. Line 418. —those proud titles thou hast won of me ;
They wound my thoughts,-
Must have a stop.] Hotspur in his last moments endeavours to console himself. The glory of the Prince wounds his thoughts ; but thought, being dependent on life, must cease with it, and will soon be at an end. Life, on which thought depends, is itself of no great value, being the fool and sport of time ; of time, which, with all its dominion over sublunary things, must itself at last be stopped.