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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. 1
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 Dreum, appear to have been bloodhounds.
ACT II. SCENE II, Line 232. -more advice,] On his return to more coolness of mind.
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 cyes at great?
JOHNSON. Line 277
-quick-] That is, living. JOHNSON, 303. -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 of is être relevè, to be prominent to the eye, as the strong parts of a picture.
JONINSON, 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 tasty Tartar back,] i. e. Tartarus,
Line 326. O, how hast thou with jealousy infected
The sweetness of aßiance !] 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, wbich is the poison of society. JOHNSON,
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 pæna, 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.
ACT II. SCENE III.
-finer end,] For final.
JOHNSON. -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. Nor 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 hape 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,
Line 500. How modest in exception,] How diffident and decent in making objections.
JOHNSON. Line 502. And you shall find, his vanities fore-spent
Were but the outside of the Roman Brutus,
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. Line 539. spend their mouths,] That is, bark; the sportsman's term,
Johnson. Line 560. -memorable line,] This genealogy; this des duction of his lincage.
ACT III. CHORUS. Line 15.
-rivage,] The bank or shore. JOHNSON. -19. -lo 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 ans ciently synonymous to rudder.
MALONE. Line 35. -linstock-] Thę staff to which the match: is fixed when ordnance is fired.
ACT III. SCENE I.
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. Line 51. -his confounded base,] His worn or wasted base. :
JOHNSON. –54. bend up every spirit—] A metaphor from the bow.
ACT III. SCENE II. Line 79.
-a case of lives:] A set of lives, of which, when one is worn out, another may serve.
JOHNSON Line 96. -Fluellen,] i. e. Lluellyn.
Line 116. best men;] That is, bradest ; so in the next lines, good deeds are brave actions.
JOHNSON. Line 126. -the men would
curry coals.] It appears that, in Shakspeare's age, to carry coals, was, I know not why, to endure affronts. So, in Romeo and Juliet, one serving-man asks another whether he will
JOHNSON, Line 143. —is dight himself four yards under the countermines:] Fluellen means, that the enemy had digged himself countermines four yards under the mines.
JOHNSON. Line 144. will plow up all,] That is, he will blow up all.
Johnson. 186. -I sall quit you—] That is, I shall, with your permission, requite you, that is, answer you, or interpose with my arguments, as I shall find opportunity.
JOHNSON Line 226. there is an end.] It were to be wished, that the poor merriment of this dialogue had not been purchased with so much profaneness.
ACT III. SCENE III.
Enlink'd to waste and desolation ?] All the savage practices naturally concomitant to the sack of cities. JOHNSON.
ACT III. SCENE IV. Scene IV.] I have left this ridiculous scene as I found it; and am sorry to have no colour left, from any of the editions, to imagine it interpolated.
WARBURTON. Sir T. Hanmer has rejected it. The scene is indeed mean enough, when it is read; but the grimaces of two French women, and the odd accent with which they uttered the English, made it divert upon the stage. It may be observed, that there is in it not only the French language, but the French spirit. Alice compliments the princess upon her knowledge of four words, and tells her that she pronounces like the English themselves. The princess suspects no deficiency in her instructress, nor the instructress in herself. Throughout the whole scene there may
be found French servility, and French vanity, I cannot forbear to transcribe the first sentence of this dialogue VOL. X.