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Line 136. For from his metal was his party steel'd;
Which once in him abated,] Abated is not here put for the general idea of diminished, nor for the notion of blunted, as applied to a single edge. Abated means reduced to a lower temper, or, as the workmen call it, let down. JOHNSON.
Line 149. 'Gan vail his stomach,] Began to fall his courage, to let his spirits sink under his fortune. JOHNSON. From avaller, Fr. to cast down, or to let fall down. MALONE. Line 162. -buckle under life,] Bend; yield to pressure.
182. And darkness be the burier of the dead!] The conclusion of this noble speech is extremely striking. There is no need to suppose it exactly philosophical; darkness, in poetry, may be absence of eyes, as well as privation of light. Yet we may remark, that by an ancient opinion it has been held, that if the human race, for whom the world was made, were extirpated, the whole system of sublunary nature would cease. JOHNSON.
Line 190. You cast the event of war, &c.] The fourteen lines, from hence to Bardolph's next speech, are not to be found in the first editions, till that in the folio of 1623. A very great number of other lines in this play were inserted after the first edition in like manner, but of such spirit and mastery generally, that the insertions are plainly by Shakspeare himself. POPE.
To this note I have nothing to add, but that the editor speaks of more editions than I believe him to have seen, there having been but one edition yet discovered by me that precedes the first folio. JOHNSON.
Line 233. Tells them, he doth bestride a bleeding land,] That is, stands over his country to defend her as she lies bleeding on the ground. So Falstaff before says to the Prince, If thou see me down, Hal, and bestride me, so; it is an office of friendship. JOHNS.
ACT I. SCENE II.
-what says the doctor to my water?] The method of investigating diseases by the inspection of urine only, was once so much the fashion, that Caius, the founder of the College of Physicians, formed a statute to restrain apothecaries from carrying the water of their patients to a physician, and afterwards giving
medicines, in consequence of the opinions they received concerning it. This statute was, soon after, followed by another, which forbade the doctors themselves to pronounce on any disorder from such an uncertain diagnostic.
John Day, the author of a comedy called Law Tricks, or Who would have thought it? 1608, describes an apothecary thus: "his house is set round with patients twice or thrice a day, and because they'll be sure not to want drink, every one brings his own water in an urinal with him."
Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady: "I'll make her cry so much, that the physician,
"If she fall sick upon it, shall want urine
"To find the cause by."
mandrake,] Mandrake is a root supposed to have the shape of a man; it is now counterfeited with the root of briony.
Line 259. I was never manned with an agate till now :] Alluding to the little figures cut in agates, and other hard stones, for seals; and therefore he says, I will set you neither in gold nor silver.
he may keep it still as a face-royal,] That is, a face exempt from the touch of vulgar hands. So, a stag-royal is
not to be hunted, a minc-royal is not to be dug.
-to bear-in hand,] Is, to keep in expecta
So, in Macbeth:
-How you were borne in hand, how cross'd."
Line 284. If a man is thorough with them in honest taking up,] That is, if a man by taking up goods is in their debt. To be thorough seems to be the same with the present phrase,—to be in with a tradesman. JOHNSON.
Line 297. I bought him in Paul's,] At that time the resort of idle people, cheats, and knights of the post. WARBURTON.
In an old Collection of Proverbs, I find the following: "Who goes to Westminster for a wife, to St. Paul's for a man, and to Smithfield for a horse, may meet with a whore, a knave, and a jade." STEEVENS.
-hunt-counter,] That is, blunderer. He does not I think allude to any relation between the judge's servant and the counter-prison.
Line 408. A wassel candle, &c.] A wassel candle is a large candle lighted up at a feast. This is a poor quibble upon the word war, which signifies increase as well as the matter of the honeycomb. JOHNSON.
Line 414. You follow the young prince up and down, like his ill angel.] The lord chief justice calls Falstaff the Prince's ill angel or genius: which Falstaff turns off by saying, an ill angel (meaning the coin called an angel) is light. THEOBALD.
Line 419. - -I cannot go, I cannot tell:] I cannot be taken in a reckoning; I cannot pass current.
Line 420. in these coster-monger times,] In these times when the prevalence of trade has produced that meanness that rates the merit of every thing by money. JOHNSON.
Pregnancy-] Pregnancy here means aptitude,
smartness, as in Hamlet.
-your wit single?] Single may mean feeble or weak. In our author's time, as an anonymous writer observes, small beer was called single beer, and that of a stronger quality double beer. MALONE.
Line 465. would I might never spit white again.] i. e. may I never have my stomach heated again with liquor; for to spil white is the consequence of inward heat. STEEVENS.
you are too impatient to bear crosses.] I believe a quibble was here intended. Falstaff had just asked his lordship to lend him a thousand pound, and he tells him in return that he is not to be entrusted with money. A cross is a coin so called, because stamped with a cross. STEEVENS.
fillip me with a three-man beetle.] A beetle
wielded by three men.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 546. -in this present quality of war;] Bardolph, I think, means to say, " Indeed the present action (our cause being now on foot, war being actually levied,) lives," &c. otherwise the speaker is made to say, in general, that all causes once on foot
afford no hopes that may securely be relied on; which is certainly
MALONE. Line 603. Let us on; &c.] This excellent speech of York was one of the passages added by Shakspeare after his first edition.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 3. Where is your yeoman?] A bailiff's follower was, in our author's time, called a serjeant's yeoman.
-an a' come but within my vice ;] Vice or grasp;
a metaphor taken from a smith's vice: there is another reading in the old edition, view, which I think not so good.
-lubbar's head-] This is, I suppose, a colloquial
corruption of the libbard's head.
Line 53. —honey-suckle villain !—honey-seed rogue !] The landlady's corruption of homicidal and homicide. THEOBALD. -rampallian!-] A mean wretch. JOHNSON. -fustilarian!] Is, I believe, a made word from MALONE.
-a parcel-gilt goblet,] i. e. a goblet gilt only in
for liking his father to a singing man-] The Prince might allow familiarities with himself, and yet very pioperly break the knight's head when he ridiculed his father. JOHNS. Line 124. -you have, &c.] In the first quarto it is read thus-You have, as it appears to me, practised upon the easy yielding spirit of this woman, and made her serve your uses both in purse and person. Without this, the following exhortation of the Chief Justice is less proper. JOHNSON.
this sneap-] A Yorkshire word for rebuke.
POPE. -answer in the effect of your reputation,] That is, answer in a manner suitable to your character. JOHNSON.
Line 158. German hunting in water-work,] i. e. in water
ACT II. SCENE II.
-that bawl out the ruins of thy linen,] I suspect
we should read-that bawl out of the ruins of thy linen ; i. e. his
bastard children, wrapt up in his old shirts.
Line 295. window.
-through a red lattice,] i. e. from an ale-house MALONE.
Line 304. Althea dreamed &c.] Shakspeare is here mistaken in his mythology, and has confounded Althea's firebrand with Hecuba's. The firebrand of Althea was real: but Hecuba, when she was big with Paris, dreamed that she was delivered of a firebrand that consumed the kingdom. JOHNSON.
Line 318. the martlemas, your master?] That is, the autumn, or rather the latter spring. The old fellow with juvenile passions. Line 347.
-this wen-] This swoln excrescence of a man.
-frank?] Frank is sty.
367. Ephesians,] Ephesian was a term in the cant of these times, of which I know not the precise notion: it was, perhaps, a toper. So, the Host, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: " It is thine host, thine Ephesian calls."
-a heavy descension!] Mr. Upton proposes that we should read thus by transposition: From a god to a bull? a low transformation!]—from a prince to a prentice? a heavy declension! This reading is elegant, and perhaps right.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 486. Sneak's noise;] Sneak was a street minstrel, and therefore the drawer goes out to listen if he can hear him in the neighbourhood.
Line 494. here will be old utis:] Utis, an old word yet in use in some counties, signifying a merry festival, from the French huit, octo, ab. A. S. Eahra, Octave festi alicujus.-Skinner. POPE. Line 516. You make fat rascals,] Falstaff alludes to a phrase of the forest. Lean deer are called rascal deer. He tells her she calls him wrong, being fat he cannot be a rascal. JOHNSON.
Your brooches, pearls, and owches ;] Brooches were chains of gold that women wore formerly about their necks. Owches were bosses of gold set with diamonds.
I believe Falstaff gives these splendid names as we give that of carbuncle, to something very different from gems and ornaments : but the passage deserves not a laborious research. JOHNSON.