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Chronicles) that is here mentioned; who was a lieutenant general, deputy regent to the duke of Bedford in Normandy, and a knight of the garter; and not the comick character afterwards introduced by our author, and which was a creature merely of his own brain. Nor when he named him Falstaff do I believe he had any intention of throwing a slur on the memory of this renowned old warrior. THEOBALD.
Mr. Theobald might have seen his notion contradicted in the very line he quotes from. Fastolfe, whether truly or not, is said by Hall and Holinshed to have been degraded for cowardice. Dr. Heylin, in his Saint George for England, tells us, that, "he was afterwards, upon good reason by him alledged in his defence, retored to his honour."-" This Sir John Fastolfe," continues he, "was without doubt, a valiant and wise captain, notwithstanding the stage hath made merry with him." FARMER.
ACT I. SCENE II.
Line 231. England all Olivers and Rowlands bred,] These were two of the most famous in the list of Charlemagne's twelve peers; and their exploits are rendered so ridiculously and equally extravagant by the old romancers, that from thence arose that saying amongst our plain and sensible ancestors, of giving one a Rowland for his Oliver, to signify the matching one incredible lie with another. WARBURTON.
Line 243. gimmals—] A gimmal is a piece of jointed work, where one piece moves within another, whence it is taken at large for an engine. It is now by the vulgar called a gimcrack. JOHNSON.
Line 244. Their arms are set, like clocks,] Perhaps our author was thinking of the clocks in which figures in the shape of men struck the hours. Of these there were many in his time.
Line 260. --nine sibyls of old Rome;] There were no nine sibyls of Rome; but he confounds things, and mistakes this for the nine books of Sibylline oracles, brought to one of the Tarquins. WARBURTON.
Line 262. Believe my words,] It should be read:
I perceive no need of change. The Bastard calls upon the Dauphin to believe the extraordinary account he has just given of the prophetick spirit and prowess of the Maid of Orleans.
Line 351. Expect Saint Martin's summer,] That is, expect. prosperity after misfortune, like fair weather at Martlemas, after winter has begun. JOHNSON.
Line 360. Was Mahomet inspired with a dove?] Sir Walter Raleigh, in his History of the World, informs us, Mahomet had a dove, "which he used to feed with wheat out of his ear; which dove, when it was hungry, lighted on Mahomet's shoulder, and thrust its bill in to find its breakfast; Mahomet persuading the rude and simple Arabians, that it was the Holy Ghost that gave him advice." GREY.
Line 363. Nor yet Saint Philip's daughters,] four daughters of Philip mentioned in the Acts.
ACT I. SCENE III.
-there is conveyance.] Conveyance means theft. HANMER. -414. Piel'd priest,] Alluding to his shaven crown.
POPE. --420. Thou, that giv'st whores indulgences to sin;] The public stews were formerly under the district of the bishop of Winchester. POPE.
There is now extant an old manuscript (formerly the officebook of the court-leet held under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Winchester in Southwark,) in which are mentioned the several fees arising from the brothel-houses allowed to be kept in the bishop's manor, with the customs and regulations of them. One of the articles is:
"De his, qui custodiunt mulieres habentes nefandam infirmitatem."
" Item. That no stewholder keep any woman within his house, that hath any sickness of brenning, but that she be put out upon pain of making a fyne unto the lord of C shillings." UPTON. Line 425. This be Damascus, be thou cursed Cain,] About four
miles from Damascus is a high hill, reported to be the same on which Cain slew his brother Abel. Maundrel's Travels,
p. 131. POPE
Line 443. -Winchester goose,] A strumpet, or the consequences of her love, was a Winchester goose. JOHNSON. Line 478. I'll call for clubs, if you will not away:] That is for peace-officers armed with clubs or staves. In affrays, it was customary in this author's time to call out clubs, clubs! MALONE.
ACT I. SCENE IV.
Line 498. The prince's espials-] i. e. the prince's spies. ·500. Wont, through a secret grate of iron bars &c.] That is, the English went not through a secret grate, but went to overpeer the city through a secret grate which is in yonder tower. I did not know till of late that this passage had been thought difficult. JOHNSON,
-so pil'd esteem'd.] Mr. Steevens thinks means
Line 523. so pillag'd. Line 572. thy cheek's side struck off!] Camden says in his Remaines, that the French scarce knew the use of great ordnance, till the siege of Mans in 1455, when a breach was made in the walls of that town by the English, under the conduct of this earl of Salisbury; and that he was the first English gentleman that was slain by a cannon-ball. MALONE.
Line 600. Pucelle, &c.] Mr. Tollet says that pussell signifies a wench, a drab.
ACT I. SCÈNE V.
Line 620. Blood will I draw on thee,] The superstition of these times taught that he that could draw the witch's blood, was free from her power. JOHNSON.
ACT I. SCENE VI.
Line 681. Than Rhodope's,] Rhodope was a famous strumpet, who acquired great riches by her trade. The least but most finished of the Egyptian pyramids (says Pliny, in the 36th book of his Natural History, ch. xii.) was built by her. STEEVENS. coffer of Darius,] When Alexander the Great
took the city of Gaza, the metropolis of Syria, amidst the other spoils and wealth of Darius treasured up there, he found an exceeding rich and beautiful little chest or casket, and asked those about him what they thought fittest to be laid up in it. When they had severally delivered their opinions, he told them, he esteemed nothing so worthy to be preserved in it as Homer's Iliad. Vide Plutarchum in Vità Alexandri Magni. THEOBALD. ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 48. -unready so?] Unready was the current word in those times for undressed. JOHNSON.
Line 185. .235.
ACT II. SCENE II.
-where she lies;] i. e. where she dwells.
ACT II. SCENE III.
-writhled—] i. e. wrinkled.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 285. From off this brier pluck a white rose with me.] This is given as the original of the two badges of the houses of York and Lancaster, whether truly or not, is no great matter. But the proverbial expression of saying a thing under the rose, I am persuaded came from thence. When the nation had ranged itself into two great factions, under the white and red rose, and were perpetually plotting and counterplotting against one another, then, when a matter of faction was communicated by either party to his friend in the same quarrel, it was natural for him to add, that he said it under the rose; meaning that, as it concerned the faction, it was religiously to be kept secret. WARBURTON.
Line 290. I love no colours;] Colours is here used ambiguously for tints and deceits. JOHNSON. Line 301.well objected;] Properly thrown in our way, justly proposed. JOHNSON.
Line 325. but anger,—that thy cheeks &c.] i. e. it is not for fear that my cheeks look pale, but for anger; anger produced by this circumstance, namely, that thy cheeks blush, &c.
Line 350. He bears him on the place's privilege,] The Temple, being a religious house, was an asylum, a place of exemption, from violence, revenge, and bloodshed. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE V.
Enter Mortimer,] Shakspeare has departed from the truth of history in this meeting of Mortimer and Plantagenet.
Line 406. Let dying Mortimer here rest himself.] I know not whether Milton did not take from this hint the lines with which he opens his tragedy. JOHNSON. Line 409. pursuivants of death,] Pursuivants. The heralds that, forerunning death, proclaim its approach. JOHNSON. Line 413. -as drawing to their exigent:] Exigent, end. JOHNSON. 415. And pithless arms,] Pith was used for marrow, and figuratively, for strength. JOHNSON.
Since Henry Monmouth first began to reign,This loathsome sequestration have I had;] Here again, the author certainly is mistaken. MALONE.
Line 433. -the arbitrator of despairs,
Just death, kind umpire of men's miseries;] That is, he that terminates or concludes misery. The expression is harsh and forced. JOHNSON.
Line 499. Levied an army;] Here is again another falsification of history. Cambridge levied no army, but was apprehended at Southampton, the night before Henry sailed from that town for France, on the information of this very Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. MALONE.
Line 508. Thou art my heir; the rest, I wish thee gather:] The sense is, I acknowledge thee to be my heir; the consequences which may be collected from thence, I recommend it to thee to draw. HEATH.
Line 539. Choak'd with ambition of the meaner sort;] We are to understand the speaker as reflecting on the ill fortune of Mortimer, in being always made a tool of by the Percies of the North in their rebellious intrigues; rather than asserting his claim to the crown, in support of his own princely ambition.