« AnteriorContinuar »
Line 145. speak lower.] Shakspeare has here as usual followed Holinshed: "Order was taken by commandement from the king, after the army was first set in battayle array, that no noise or clamour should be made in the hoste." MALONE.
Line 168. -conditions:] Are qualities. The meaning is, that objects are represented by his senses to him, as to other men by theirs. What is danger to another is danger likewise to him; and, when he feels fear, it is like the fear of meaner mortals. JOHNSON.
Line 205. -their children rawly left.] That is, without preparation, hastily, suddenly. What is not matured is raw. So, in Macbeth:
66 Why in this rawness left he wife and children?"
JOHNSON. Line 243. Every subject's duty-] This is a very just distinction, and the whole argument is well followed, and properly concluded. JOHNSON.
Line 266. 'Mass, you'll pay him then!] To pay, in old language, meant to thrash or beat; and here it signifies to bring to account, to punish. MALONE.
Line 266. -That's a perilous shot out of an elder gun,] In the old play [the quarto, 1600,] the thought is more opened. It is a great displeasure that an elder gun can do against a cannon, or a subject against a monarch. JOHNSON.
Line 299. -twenty French crowns--] This conceit, rather too low for a king, has been already explained, as alluding to the venereal disease. JOHNSON.
Mr. Tyrwhitt differs from Dr. Johnson on the above passage. Line 304. Upon the king! &c.] There is something very striking and solemn in this soliloquy, into which the king breaks immediately as soon as he is left alone. Something like this, on less occasions, every breast has felt. Reflection and seriousness rush upon the mind upon the separation of a gay company, and especially after forced and unwilling merriment. JOHNSON.
What are thy rents? what are thy comings-in?
What is the soul of adoration ?] The first copy reads
This is incorrect, but I think we may discover the true reading easily enough to be,
What is thy soul, O adoration?
That is, O reverence paid to kings, what art thou within? What are thy real qualities? What is thy intrinsick value ? JOHNSON. Line 339. -farced title running &c.] Farced is stuffed. The tumid puffy titles with which a king's name is always introduced. This, I think, is the sense. JOHNSON.
Line 344. Can sleep so soundly &c.] These lines are exquisitely pleasing. To sweat in the eye of Phœbus, and to sleep in Elysium, are expressions very poetical. JOHNSON.
Line 382. Two chantries,] One of these monasteries was for Carthusian monks, and was called Bethlehem; the other was for religious men and women of the order of Saint Bridget, and was named Sion. They were on opposite sides of the Thames, and adjoined the royal manor of Sheen, now called Richmond.
Line 385. Since that my penitence &c.] I do all this, says the King, though all that I can do is nothing worth, is so far from an adequate expiation of the crime, that penitence comes after all, imploring pardon both for the crime and the expiation. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 396. Via !—les eaux et la terre-] Via is an old hortatory exclamation, as allons! JOHNSON. . Line 405. And dout them-] To dout, for to do out, is a common phrase at this day in Devonshire and the other western counties; where they often say, dout the fire, that is, put out the fire. MALONE. Line 426. -a hilding foe ;] Hilding, or hinderling, is a low wretch. JOHNSON.
Line 432. The tucket-sonuance, &c.] He uses terms of the field as if they were going out only to the chace for sport. To dare the field is a phrase in falconry. Birds are dared when by the falcon in the air they are terrified from rising, so that they will be sometimes taken by the hand.
Such an easy capture the lords expected to make of the English. JOHNSON.
Line 439. Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,] i. e. their standards or flags.
Line 448. And in their pale dull mouths the gimmal bit-] Gimmal is, in the western counties, a ring; a gimmal bit is therefore a bit of which the parts played one within another. JOHNS. Line 450. their executors, the knavish crows,] The crows who are to have the disposal of what they shall leave, their hides and their flesh. JOHNSON.
Line 461. I stay but for my guard ;] It seems, by what follows, that guard in this place means rather something of ornament or of distinction, than a body of attendants. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 495. By Jove,] The king prays like a christian, and swears like a heathen. JOHNSON.
Line 497. It yearns me not,] To yearn is to vex, to grieve. - 512. of Crispian :] The battle of Agincourt was fought on St. Crispin's day, viz. the 25th of October.
Line 522. But he'll remember with advantages,] Old men, notwithstanding the natural forgetfulness of age, shall remember their feats of this day, and remember to tell them with advantage. Age is commonly boastful, and inclined to magnify past acts and past times. JOHNSON.
Line 530. From this day to the ending-] It may be observed that we are apt to promise to ourselves a more lasting memory than the changing state of human things admits. This prediction is not verified; the feast of Crispin passes by without any mention of Agincourt. Late events obliterate the former: the civil wars have left in this nation scarcely any tradition of more ancient history. JOHNSON. gentle his condition:] This day shall advance him to the rank of a gentleman. JOHNSON.
bravely-] is splendidly, ostentatiously.
-thou hast unwish'd five thousand men;] By wishing only thyself and me, thou hast wished five thousand men away. Shakspeare never thinks of such trifles as numbers. In the last scene the French are said to be full threescore thousand,
which Exeter declares to be five to one; but, by the king's account, they are twelve to one. JOHNSON.
Line 590. -warriors for the working-day :] We are soldiers but coarsely dressed; we have not on our holiday apparel. JOHNSON.
Line 631. For I will fetch thy rim-] Cole, in his Dictionary, 1678, describes rim to be the caul in which the bowels are wrapped. MALONE. -luxurious mountain goat,] Luxurious, i. e.
Line 639. -a ton of moys?] Moy is a piece of money; whence moi d'or, or moi of gold. JOHNSON. Line 645. ——and firk him,] i. e. chastise him.
·687. —this roaring devil i'the old play,] In modern puppet-shows, which seem to be copied from the old farces, Punch sometimes fights the devil, and always overcomes him. I suppose the vice of the old farce, to whom Punch succeeds, used to fight the devil with a wooden dagger. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE V.
Line 703. O perdurable shame!] Perdurable is lasting.
ACT IV. SCENE VII.
Line 767. Kill the poys and the luggage!] The baggage, during the battle, (as king Henry had no men to spare,) was guarded only by boys and lackeys; which some French runaways getting notice of, they came down upon the English camp-boys, whom they killed, and plundered, and burned the baggage: in resentment of which villainy it was, that the king, contrary to his wonted lenity, ordered all prisoners' throats to be cut. And to this villainy of the French runaways Fluellen is alluding, when he says, Kill the poys and the luggage! The fact is set out both by Hall and Holinshed. THEOBALD.
Unhappily the king gives one reason for his order to kill the prisoners, and Gower another. The king killed his prisoners because he expected another battle, and he had not men sufficient
to guard one army and fight another. Gower declares that the gallant king has worthily ordered the prisoners to be destroyed, -because the luggage was plundered, and the boys were slain.
JOHNSON. Line 816. the fat knight-] This is the last time that Falstaff can make sport. The poet was loath to part with him, and has continued his memory as long as he could. JOHNSON.
Line 832. Besides, we'll cut the throats &c.] The king is in a very bloody disposition. He has already cut the throats of his prisoners, and threatens now to cut them again. No haste of composition could produce such negligence; neither was this play, which is the second draught of the same design, written in haste. There must be some dislocation of the scenes. If we place these lines at the beginning of the twelfth scene, the absurdity will be removed, and the action will proceed in a regular series. This transposition might easily happen in copies written for the players. Yet it must not be concealed, that in the imperfect play of 1608, the order of the scenes is the same as here. JOHNSON. -Monmouth caps ;] Monmouth caps were
Line 876. formerly much worn.
"The best caps, (says Fuller, in his Worthies of Wales, p. 50,) were formerly made at Monmouth, where the Capper's chapel doth still remain." MALONE.
-great sort,] High rank. So, in the ballad of
"Lords and ladies of great sort."
—quite from the answer of his degree.] A man of such station as is not bound to hazard his person to answer to a challenge from one of the soldier's low degree.
Line 918. Jack-sauce,] i. e. saucy Jack.
931. —When Alençon and myself were down together,] This circumstance is not an invention of Shakspeare's. Henry was felled to the ground at the battle of Agincourt, by the duke of Alençon, but recovered and slew two of the duke's attendants. Afterwards Alençon was killed by the king's guard, contrary to Henry's intention, who wished to have saved him. MALONE.