Page images

And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He call'd them—untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holiday and lady terms:
He question'd me; among the rest demanded
My prisoners, in your majesty's behalf.
I then, all smarting, with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjayo,

'tis enough, Having so much fool, to tuke him in snuff." And here they are talking about tobacco. Again, in Hinde's Eliosto Libidinoso, 1606 : "The good wife glad that he took the matter so in snuff,&c. Steevens.

See vol. v. p. 326, n. 3. MALONE. s With many holiday and lady terms ~] So, in A Looking Glass for London and England, 1598: “These be but holiday terms, but if you heard her working day words -". Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ he speaks holiday."

STEEVENS. 6 I then, all smarting, with my wounds being COLD,

To be so pester'd with a POPINJAY,] But in the beginning of the speech he represents himself at this time not as cold but hot, and inflamed with rage and labour :

“When I was dry with rage, and extreme toil," &c. I am therefore persuaded that Shakspeare wrote and pointed it thus :

“I then all smarting with my wounds ; being galld

To be so pester'd with a popinjay,” &c. WARBURTON. Whatever Percy might say of his rage and toil, which is merely declamatory and apologetical, his wounds would at this time be certainly cold, and when they were cold would smart, and not before. If any alteration were necessary, I should transpose the lines :

“ I then all smarting with my wounds being cold,
“Out of my grief, and my impatience,
“ To be so pester'd with a popinjay,

“ Answer'd neglectingly."
A popinjay is a parrot. Johnson.

The same transposition had been proposed by Mr. Edwards. In John Alday's Summarie of Secret Wonders, &c. bl. 1. no date, we are told that “ The popingay can speake humaine speach, they come from the Indias,” &c.

From the following passage in The Northern Lass, 1632, it

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Out of my grief? and my impatience,
Answer'd neglectingly, I know not what ;
He should, or he should not ;-for he made me

To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting-gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds, (God save the

And telling me, the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti“, for an inward bruise";
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villainous salt-petre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

should seem, however, that a popinjay and a parrot were distinct birds :

“ Is this a parrot or a popinjay ? " Again, in Nash’s Lenten Stuff, &c. 1599: “ the parrot, the popinjay, Philip-sparrow, and the cuckow.” In the ancient poem called The Parliament of Birds, bl. 1. this bird is called - the popynge jay of paradyse." STEEVENS.

It appears from Minsheu that Dr. Johnson is right. See his Dict. 1617, in v. Parret. Malone.

The old reading may be supported by the following passage in Barnes's History of Edward III. p. 786 : The esquire fought still, until the wounds began with loss of blood to cool and smart."

TOLLET. So, in Mortimeriados, by Michael Drayton, 4to. 1596 : “ As when the blood is cold, we feel the wound"

MALONE. 7.-grief -] i. e. pain. In our ancient translations of physical treatises, dolor ventris is commonly called belly-grief.

STBEVENS. 8 - parmaceti,] So the old editions. Some modern editors have altered it to spermaceti. Sir Richard Hawkins, in his Voyage into the South Sea, 1593, speaking of whales, says, “

his spawne is for divers purposes. This we corruptly call parmacettie, of the Latin word Sperma Ceti.” p. 46. Reed.

9 - parmaceti, fór an inward bruise ;] So, in Sir T. Overbury's Characters, 1616 : [An Ordinary Fencer.] His wounds are seldom skin-deepe; for an inward bruise lambstones and sweetebreads are his only spermaceti." Bowle.

So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns',
He would himself have been a soldier.
This bald unjointed chat of his, my lord,
I answer'd indirectly, as I said ;
And, I beseech you, let not his report
Come current for an accusation,
Betwixt my love and your high majesty.
Blunt. The circumstance consider'd, good my

Whatever Harry Percy then had said,
To such a person, and in such a place,
At such a time, with all the rest re-told,
May reasonably die, and never rise
To do him wrong, or any way impeach
What then he said, so he unsay it now .

K. Hen. Why, yet he doth deny his prisoners;
But with proviso, and exception,
That we, at our own charge, shall ransom straight
His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer;

[ocr errors]

but for these vile guns, &c.] A similar thought occurs in Questions of Profitable and Pleasant Concernings, &c. 1594, p.11: “I confesse those gunnes are diuellish things, and make many men runne away that other wayes would not turne their heads." STEEVENS. 2 To do him wrong, or any way impeach

What then he said, so he unsay it now.) Let what he then said never rise to impeach him, so he unsay it now. JOHNSON.

3 His brother-in-law, the foolish Mortimer ;] Shakspeare has fallen into some contradictions with regard to this Lord Mortimer. Before he makes his personal appearance in the play, he is repeatedly spoken of as Hotspur's brother-in-law. In Act II. Lady Percy expressly calls him her brother Mortimer. And yet when he enters in the third Act, he calls Lady Percy his aunt, which in fact she was, and not his sister. This inconsistence may be accounted for as follows. It appears both from Dugdale's and Sandford's account of the Mortimer family, that there were two of them taken prisoners at different times by Glendower; each of them bearing the name of Edmund; one being Edmund Earl of March, nephew to Lady Percy, and the proper Mortimer of this play; the other, Sir Edmund Mortimer, uncle to the former, and brother to Lady Percy. Shakspeare confounds the two persons. STEEVENS.

Who, on my soul, hath wilfully betray'd
The lives of those that he did lead to fight
Against the great magician, damn'd Glendower;
Whose daughter, as we hear, the earl of March
Hath lately married. Shall our coffers then
Be emptied, to redeem a traitor home?
Shall we buy treason ? and indent with fears“,

Another cause also may be assigned for this confusion. Henry Percy, according to the accounts of some of our old historians, married Eleanor, the sister of Roger Earl of March, who was the father of the Edmund Earl of March, that appears in the present play. But this Edmund had a sister likewise named Eleanor. Shakspeare might, therefore, have at different times confounded these two supposed Eleanors. I say supposed, for in fact, the sister of Robert Earl of March, whom young Percy married, was called Elizabeth, as we learn from Hardyng, who was a contemporary. Malone. See my note on Act II. Sc. III. where this Lady is called -- Kate.

Steevens. - and indent with FEARS,] The reason why he says, bargain and article with fears, meaning with Mortimer, is, because he supposed Mortimer had wilfully betrayed his own forces to Glendower out of fear, as appears from his next speech.

WARBURTON. The difficulty seems to me to ise from this, that the King is not desired to article or contract with Mortimer, but with another for Mortimer. Perhaps we may read :

“ Shall we buy treason? and indent with peers,

“ When they have lost and forfeited themselves ? " Shall we purchase back a traitor? Shall we descend to a composition with Worcester, Northumberland, and young Percy, who by disobedience have lost and forfeited their honours and themselves?

Johnson. To “indent," is to sign an indenture or compact.' Malone.

“ Shall we buy treason ? and indent with fears,” This verb is used by Harrington in his translation of Ariosto, b. xvi. st. 35 :

“And with the Irish bands he first indents,

“ To spoil their lodgings and to burn their tents." Again, in The Cruel Brother, by Sir W. D'Avenant, 1630 :

Dost thou indent “With my acceptance, make choice of services ?” Fears may

be used in the active sense for terrors. So, in the second part of this play:

all those bold fears
“ Thou seest with peril I have answered.”

When they have lost and forfeited themselves ?
No, on the barren mountains let him starve;
For I shall never hold that man my friend,
Whose tongue shall ask me for one penny cost
To ransom home revolted Mortimer.

Hor. Revolted Mortimer!
He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,
But by the chance of war";—To prove that true,
Needs no more but one tongue for all those

Those mouthed wounds o, which valiantly he took,

These lords, however, had, as yet, neither forfeited or lost any thing, so that Dr. Johnson's conjecture is inadmissible.

After all, I am inclined to regard Mortimer (though the King affects to speak of him in the plural number) as the Fear, or timid object, which had lost or forfeited itself. Henry afterwards says:

he durst as well have met the devil alone, As Owen Glendower for an enemy." “ Indent with fears,” may therefore mean, "sign an indenture or compact with dastards. Fears may be substituted for fearful people, as wrongs has been used for wrongers in King Richard II.:

“ He should have found his uncle Gaunt a father,

“ To rouse his wrongs, and chase them to a bay.” “ Near Cæsar's angel (says the Soothsayer to Antony,) thy own becomes a fear," i. e. a spirit of cowardice; and Sir Richard' Vernon, in the play before us, uses an expression that nearly resembles indenting with fears :

“ I hold as little counsel with weak fear,

“ As you, my lord -" The King, by buying treason, and indenting with fears, may therefore covertly repeat both his pretended charges against Mortimer; first, that he had treasonably betrayed his party to Glendower; and, secondly, that he would have been afraid to encounter with so brave an adversary. Steevens. s He never did fall off, my sovereign liege,

But by the chance of war;] The meaning is, he came not into the enemy's power, but by the chance of war. The King charged Mortimer, that he wilfully betrayed his army, and, as he was then with the enemy, calls him revolted Mortimer. Hotspur replies, that he never fell off, that is, fell into Glendower's hands, but by the chance of war. I should not have explained thus tediously a passage so hard to be mistaken, but that two editors have already mistaken it. JOHNSON.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »