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the hilt to the point with crowns and coronets, that all sentiments of danger were lost in the thoughts of glory. WARBURTON? Line 29. this grace of kings-] i. e. he who does the greatest honour to the title. By the same kind of phraseology the usurper in Hamlet is called the Vice of kings, i. e. the opprobrium of them. WARBURTON.
Line 39. charming the narrow seas-] Though Ben Jonson, as we are told, was indebted to the kindness of Shakspeare for the introduction of his first piece, Every Man in his Humour, on the stage, and though our author performed a part in it, Jonson, in the prologue to that play, as in many other places, endeavoured to ridicule and depreciate him:
"He rather prays, you will be pleas'd to see
When this prologue was written, is unknown. The envious author of it, however, did not publish it till 1616, the year of Shakspeare's death. MALONE.
Line 41. We'll not offend one stomach-] That is, you shall pass the sea without the qualms of sea-sickness. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 45. -lieutenant Bardolph.] At this scene begins the connection of this play with the latter part of King Henry IV. The characters would be indistinct, and the incidents unintelligible, without the knowledge of what passed in the two foregoing plays. JOHNSON.
Line 49. there shall be smiles;] Perhaps Nym means only to say, I care not whether we are friends at present; however, when time shall serve, we shall be in good humour with each other. MALONE. Line 87. Iceland dog!] In the folio the word is spelt Island; in the quarto, Iseland. MALONE.
I believe we should read, Iceland dog. He seems to allude to an account credited in Elizabeth's time, that in the north there was a nation with human bodies and dogs' heads. JOHNSON. Line 98. For I can take,] I know not well what he can take.
The quarto reads talk. In our author to take, is sometimes to blast, which sense may serve in this place. JOHNSON.
Line 100. I am not Barbason; you cannot conjure me.] Barbason is the name of a dæmon in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Line 120. O hound of Crete,] He means to insinuate that Nym thirsted for blood. The hounds of Crete, described by our author in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, appear to have been bloodhounds. MALONE.
ACT II. SCENE II.
-more advice,] On his return to more coolness of JOHNSON. Line 244. proceeding on distemper,] i. e. sudden passions. WARBURTON.
Perturbation of mind. Temper is equality or calmness of mind, from an equipoise or due mixture of passions. Distemper of mind is the predominance of a passion, as distemper of body is the predominance of a humour. JOHNSON. Line 245. -how shall we stretch our eye,] If we may not wink at small faults, how wide must we open our eyes at great?
-quick-] That is, living.
-though the truth of it stands off as gross
As black from white,] Though the truth be as apparent and visible as black and white contiguous to each other. To stand off is être relevé, to be prominent to the eye, as the strong parts of a picture. JOHNSON.
Line 318. he, that temper'd thee,] Though temper'd may: stand for formed or moulded, yet I fancy tempted was the author's word, for it answers better to suggest in the opposition. JOHNSON. Line 323. He might return to vasty Tartar back,] i. e. Tar
Line 326. 0, how hast thou with jealousy infected
The sweetness of affiance!] Shakspeare uses this aggravation of the guilt of treachery with great judgment. One of the worst consequences of breach of trust is the diminution of that confidence which makes the happiness of life, and the dissemin ation of suspicion, which is the poison of society.
Line 335. Not working with the eye, without the ear,] The king means to say of Scroop, that he was a cautious man, who knew that fronti nulla fides, that a specious appearance was deceitful, and therefore did not work with the eye, without the ear, did not trust the air or look of any man till he had tried him by enquiry and conversation. JOHNSON.
Line 337. and so finely boulted,] Bolted is the same with sifted, and has consequently the meaning of refined. JOHNSON.
Line 366. My fault, &c.] One of the conspirators against queen Elizabeth, I think Parry, concludes his letter to her with these words: "a culpâ, but not a pœnâ, absolve me, most dear lady." This letter was much read at that time, [1585,] and our author doubtless copied it.
This whole scene was much enlarged and improved after the first edition; the particular insertions in it would be tedious to mention, and tedious without much use. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE III.
-finer end,] For final:
an it had been any christom child;] Blount, in his Glossography, 1678, says, that chrisoms in the bills of mortality are such children as die within the month of birth, because during that time they use to wear the chrisom-cloth. MALONE.
Line 409. turning o'the tide:] It has been a very old opinion, which Mead, de imperio solis, quotes, as if he believed it, that nobody dies but in the time of ebb: half the deaths in London confute the notion; but we find that it was common among the women of the poet's time. JOHNSON.
Line 416. -now I, to comfort him, bid him, 'a should not think of God, &c.] Perhaps Shakspeare was indebted to the following story in Wits, Fits, and Fancies, &c. 1595, for this very characteristick exhortation: "A gentlewoman fearing to be drowned, said, now Jesu receive our soules! Soft, mistress, answered the waterman; I trow, we are not come to that passe yet. MALONE.
Line 421. cold as any stone.] Such is the end of Falstaff, from whom Shakspeare had promised us, in his epilogue to King Henry IV. that we should receive more entertainment. It hap pened to Shakspeare, as to other writers, to have his imagination'
crouded with a tumultuary confusion of images, which, while they were yet unsorted and unexamined, seemed sufficient to furnish a long train of incidents, and a new variety of merriment; but which, when he was to produce them to view, shrunk suddenly from him, or could not be accommodated to his general design. That he once designed to have brought Falstaff on the scene again, we know from himself; but whether he could contrive no train of adventures suitable to his character, or could match him with no companions likely to quicken his humour, or could open no new vein of pleasantry, and was afraid to continue the same strain lest it should not find the same reception, he has here for ever discarded him, and made haste to despatch him, perhaps for the same reason for which Addison killed sir Roger, that no other hand might attempt to exhibit him.
Let meaner authors learn from this example, that it is dangerous' to sell the bear which is yet not hunted; to promise to the publick what they have not written.
This disappointment probably inclined queen Elizabeth to command the poet to produce him once again, and to show him in love or courtship. This was, indeed, a new source of humour, and produced a new play from the former characters. JOHNSON.
Line 447. Let senses rule;] I think this is wrong, but how to reform it I do not see. Perhaps we may read:
Let sense us rule.
Pistol is taking leave of his wife, and giving her advice as he kisses her; he sees her rather weeping than attending, and, supposing that in her heart she is still longing to go with him part of the way, he cries, Let sense us rule, that is, let us not give way to foolish fondness, but be ruled by our better understanding. He then continues his directions for her conduct in his absence.
JOHNSON. Line 452. clear thy chrystals.] Dry thine eyes: but I think it may better mean, in this place, wash thy glasses. JOHNS.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 465. And more than carefully it us concerns,] More than carefully is with more than common care; a phrase of the same kind with better than well, JOHNSON.
Line 500. How modest in exception,] How diffident and decent in making objections. JOHNSON. Line 502.
And you shall find, his vanities fore-spent
Covering discretion with a coat of folly;] I believe, Shakspeare meant no more than that Henry, in his external appearance, was like the elder Brutus, wild and giddy, while in fact his understanding was good. MALONE.
Line 519. That haunted us- -] To haunt is a word of the utmost horror, which shows that they dreaded the English as goblins and spirits. JOHNSON. -spend their mouths,] That is, bark; the sportsJOHNSON. Line 560.memorable line,] This genealogy; this deduction of his lineage.
ACT III. CHORUS.
-rivage,] The bank or shore.
Line 15. -19. -to sternage of this navy;] The stern being the hinder part of the ship, the meaning is, let your minds follow close after the navy. Stern, however, appears to have been an ciently synonymous to rudder. MALONE. Line 35. -linstock-] The staff to which the match is fixed when ordnance is fired. JOHNSON.
Line 48. -portage of the head,] Portage, open space, from port, a gate. Let the eye appear in the head as cannon through the battlements, or embrasures, of a fortification. JOHNSON.. -his confounded base,] His worn or wasted base. JOHNSON. -54. bend up every spirit—] A metaphor from the JOHNSONJ
ACT III. SCENE II.
-a case of lives:] A set of lives, of which, when
one is worn out, another may serve.
Fluellen,] i. e. Lluellyn.