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king, as, God fave thy grace, (majefty, I fhould fay; for grace thou wilt have none,)———

P. HEN. What! none?

FAL. No, by my troth; not fo much as will ferve to be prologue to an egg and butter.

P.HEN. Well,how then? come, roundly, roundly. FAL. Marry, then, fweet wag, when thou art king, let not us, that are fquires of the night's body, be call'd thieves of the day's beauty; let us be-Diana's forefters, gentlemen of the fhade, gotten ballad on the fubje& of this marvellous hero's adventures. In Peele's Old Wives Tale, Com. 1595, Eumenides, the wandering knight, is a chara&er.



7 let not us, that are Squires of the night's body, be call'd thieves of the day's beauty;] This conveys no manner of idea to me. How could they be called thieves of the day's beauty? They robbed by moonshine; they could not fteal the fair day-light. I have ventured to substitute booty: and this I take to be the meaning. Let us not be called thieves, the purloiners of that booty, which, to the proprietors, was the purchase of honeft labour and induftry by day. THEOBALD.

It is true, as Mr. Theobald has obferved, that they could not fteal the fair day-light; but I believe our poet by the expreffion, thieves of the day's beauty, meant only, let not us who are body fquires to the night, i. e. adorn the night, be called a difgrace to the day. To take away the beauty of the day, may probably mean, to difgrace it. A Squire of the body fignified originally, the attendant on a knight; the perfon who bore his head-piece, fpear, and fhield. It became afterwards the caut term for a pimp; and is fo used in the fecond part of Decker's Honeft Whore, 1630. Again, in The Witty Fair One, 1633, for a procurefs: "Here comes the Squire of her miftrefs's body."

Falftaff however puns on the word knight. See the Curialia of Samuel Pegge, Efq. Part I. p. 100. STEEVENS.

There is alfo, I have no doubt, a pun on the word beauty, which in the western counties is pronounced nearly in the fame manner as booty. See K. Henry VI. Part III:

"So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty." MALONE. • Diana's forefters, &c.]

"Exile and flander are juftly mee awarded,

"My wife and heire lacke lands and lawful right;
"And me their lord made dame Diana's knight."

minions of the moon: And let men fay, we be men of good government; being govern'd as the fea is, by our noble and chafte miftrefs the moon, under whofe countenance we-fteal.

P. HEN. Thou fay'ft well; and it holds well too: for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the fea; being govern'd as the fea is, by the moon. As, for proof, now: A purfe of gold most resolutely fnatch'd on Monday night, and moft diffolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with fwearing-lay by; and spent with crying-bring in: now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.

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FAL. By the Lord, thou fay'it true, lad. And is not my hoftefs of the tavern a most sweet wench?3

So lamenteth Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, in The Mirro of Magiftrates. HENDERSON.

We learn from Hall, that certain perfons who appeared as foresters in a pageant exhibited in the reign of King Henry VIII. were called Diana's knights. MALONE.

9 got with fwearing-lay by; ] i. e. fwearing at the paf fengers they robbed, lay by your arms; or rather, lay by was a phrafe that then fignified ftand lill, addreffed to those who were preparing to rush forward. But the Oxford editor kindly accom modates thefe old thieves with a new cant phrafe, taken from Bagfhot-heath or Finchley-common, of lug out. WARBURTON. To lay by, is a phrase adopted from navigation, and fignifics, by flackening fail to become stationary. It occurs again in King Henry VIII:


"Even the billows of the fea


Hung their heads, and then lay by." STEEVENS. and spent with crying, bring in:] i. e. more wine.


And is not my hofless of the tavern &c.] We meet with the fame kind of humour as is contained in this and the three following fpeeches, in The Moftellaria of Piautus, Ad 1. fc. iii: Jampridem ecaftor frigidâ non lavi magis lubenter, "Nec unde me melius, mea Scapha, rear effe defecatam.

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P. HEN. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the caftle. And is not a buff jerkin a moft fweet robe of durance ?5


Eventus rebus omnibus, velut horno meffis magna fuit. Phi. Quid ea meffis attinet ad meam lavationem?

Sca.Nihilo plus, quam lavatio tua ad meffim."

In the want of connection to what went before, probably confifts the humour of the Prince's queftion. STEEVENS.

This kind of humour is often met with in old plays. In The Gallathea of Lyly, Phillida fays: "It is a pittie that nature framed you not a woman.

"Gall. There is a tree in Tylos, &c.

"Phill. What a toy it is to tell me of that tree, being nothing

to the purpose," &c.

Ben Jonfon calls it a game at vapours. FARMER.



4 As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the caftle. ] took notice of a tradition, that this part of Falstaff was written originally under the name of Oldcastle. An ingenious correfpondent hints to me, that the paffage above quoted from our author, proves what Mr. Rowe tells us was a tradition. Old lad of the caftle feems to have a reference to Oldcastle. Befides, if this had not been the fact, why, in the epilogue to The Second Part of Henry IV. where our author promifes to continue his ftory with Sir John in it, should he fay, Where, for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unlefs already he be killed with your hard opinions for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man." This looks like declining a point that had been made an objection to him. I'll give a farther matter in proof, which feems almoft to fix the charge. I have read an old play, called, The famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, containing the honourable battle of Agincourt. The action of this piece commences about the 14th year of K. Henry the Fourth's reign, and ends with Henry the Fifth's marrying Princefs Catharine of France. The scene opens with Prince Henry's robberies. Sir John Oldcastle is one of the gang, and called Jockie; and Ned and Gadfhill are two other comrades. From this old imperfed sketch, I have a fufpicion, Shakfpeare might form his two parts of Henry IV. and his hiftory of Henry V.; and confequently it is not improbable, that he might continue the mention of Sir John Öldcastle, till fome descendant of that family moved Queen Elizabeth to command him to change the name. THEOBALD.


my old lad of the castle.] This alludes to the name Shakfpeare firft gave to this buffoon chara&er, which was Sir John Oldcaffle; and when he changed the name he forgot to ftrike out

FAL. How now, how now, mad wag? what, in thy quips, and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?

this expreffion that alluded to it. The reafon of the change was this; one Sir John Oldcafte having suffered in the time of Henry the Fifth for the opinions of Wickliffe, it gave offence, and therefore the poet altered it to Falstaff, and endeavours to remove the fcandal in the epilogue to The Second Part of Henry IV. Fuller takes notice of this matter in his Church History: Stage-poets have themfelves been very bold with, and others very merry at, the memory of fir John Oldcastle, whom they have fancied a boon companion, a jovial royfter, and a coward to boot. The best is, fir John Falstaff hath relieved the memory of fir John Oldcastle, and of late is fubftituted buffoon in his place." Book IV. p. 168. But, to be candid, I believe there was no malice in the matter. Shakspeare wanted a droll name to his character, and never con fidered whom it belonged to. We have a like inftance in The Merry Wives of Windfor, where he calls his French quack, Caius, a name at that time yery refpecable, as belonging to an eminent and learned phyfician, one of the founders of Caius College in Cambridge. WARBURTON.

The propriety of this note the reader will find contefted at the beginning of K. Henry V. Sir John Oldcastle was not a chara&er ever introduced by Shakspeare, nor did he ever occupy the place of Falftaff. The play in which Oldcastle's name occurs, was not the work of our poet.


Old lad is likewise a familiar compellation to be found in fome of our most ancient dramatick pieces. So, in The Trial of Treasure, $567: What, Inclination, old lad art thou there?" In the dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, &c. by T. Nath, 1598, old Dick of the castle is mentioned.

Again, in Pierce's Supererogation, ar a New Praise of the Old Affe, 1593: And here's a lufty ladd of the caftell, that will binde beares, and ride golden affes to death." STEEVENS.

Old lad of the castle, is the fame with Old lad of Caftile, a Caftilian Meres reckons Oliver of the castle amongst his romances: and Gabriel Harvey tells us of "Old lads of the caftell with their rapping babble."-roaring boys. This is therefore no argument for Falltaff's appearing firft under the name of Oldcastle. There is however a paffage in a play called Amends for Ladies, by Field the player, 1618, which may feem to prove it, unless he confounded the different performances:

P. HEN. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hoftefs of the tavern?

Did you never fee

"The play where the fat knight, hight Oldcastle,
"Did tell you truly what this honour was?"


Fuller, befides the words cited in the hote, has in his Worthies, p. 253, the following paffage; "Sir John Oldcastle was first made a thrafonical puff an emblem of mock valour, a make-fport in all plays, for a coward." Speed, likewife, in his Chrouicle, edit. 2. p. 178, favs: The author of The Three Gonverfions (i. e. Parsons the Jefuit), hath made Oldcastle a ruffian a robber, and a rebel, and his authority, taken from the flage players, is more befitting the pen of his flanderous report, than the credit of the judicious, being only grounded from the papift and the poet, of like confcience for lies, the one ever feigning, and the other ever falfifying the truth." RITSON.

From the following paffage in The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinaire, or the Walies in Powles, quarto, 1604, it appears that Sir John Oldcastle was reprefented on the ftage as a very fat man (certainly not in the play printed with that title in 1600) : :- "Now, figniors, how like you mine hoft? did I not tell you he was a madde round knave and a merrie one too? aud if you chaunce to talke of fatte Sir John Oldcastle, he will tell you, he was his great grand-father, and not much unlike him in paunch. "The hoft, who is here described, returns to the gallants, and entertains them with telling them ftories. After his firft tale, he fays : gallants, I'll fit you, and now I will ferve in another, as good as vinegar and pepper to your roast beefe. Signor Kick:awe replies: "Let's have it, let's tafte on it, mine hoft, my noble fat actor.

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The caufe of all the confufion relative to these two chara&eres, and of the tradition mentioned by Mr. Rowe, that our author changed the name from Oldcastle to Falstaff. (to which I do not give the final left credit,) feems to have been this. Shakspeare appears evidently to have caught the idea of the character of Falstaff from a wretched play entitled The famous Victories of King Henry V. (which had been exhibited before 1589, in which Heary Prince of Wales is a principal character. He is accompanied in his revels and his robberies by Sir John Oldcastle, ("a pamper'd glutton, and a debauchee, as he is called in a piece of that age.) who appears to be the chara&er alluded to in the paffage above quoted from The Meeting of Gallants, &c. To this character undoubtedly it is that

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