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But that I think his father loves him not,
Wor. Farewell, kinsman! I will talk to you,
" Whal weapons bear they?-Some sword and dagger, some stvord and buckler.What weapon is that buckler ?-A clownish dastardly weapon, and not fit for a gentleman." Florio's First Fruites, 1578. Malone.
9 — poison'd with a pot of ale.] Dr. Grey supposes this to be said in allusion to Caxton's Account of King John's Death; (See Caxton's Fructus Temporum, 1515, fol. 62.) but I rather think it has reference to the low company (drinkers of ale) with whom the prince spent so much of his time in the meanest taverns.
STEEVENS. " Why, what a wasp-stung and impatient fool -] Thus the quarto 1598; and surely it affords a more obvious meaning than the folio, which reads :-wasp-tongued. That Shakspeare knew the sting of a wasp was not situated in its mouth, may be learned from the following passage in The Winter's Tale, Act I. Sc. II. : is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps.”
STEEVENS. This reading is confirmed by Hotspur's reply:
“Why look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd with rods, “ Nettled and stung with pismires, when I hear
“ Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.” M. Mason. The first quarto copies of several of these plays are in many respects much preferable to the folio, and in general I have paid the utmost attention to them. In the present instance, however, I think the transcriber's ear deceived him, and that the true reading is that of the second quarto, 1599, wasp-tongue, which I have adopted, not on the authority of that copy, (for it has none,) but because I believe it to have been the word used by the author. The folio was apparently printed from a later quarto ; and the editor from ignorance of our author's phraseology changed wasptongue to wasp-tongued. There are other instances of the same unwarrantable alterations even in that valuable copy of our author's plays. The change, I say, was made from ignorance of Shakspeare's phraseology; for in King Richard III. we have-his venom-tooth, not venom'd tooth; your widow-dolour, not widow'ddolour; and in another play,– parted with sugar-breath, not sugar'd breath ; and many more instances of the same kind may
Art thou to break into this woman's mood;
be found. Thus, in this play,--smooth-tongue, not smoothtongued. Again : “ – stolen from my host at St. Albans, or the red-nose innkeeper of Daintry." [not red-nosed.] Again, in King Richard III. :
“Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk : " not light-footed.
So also, in The Black Book, 4to. 1504 : “ - The spindleshanke spyder, which showed like great leachers with little legs, went stealing over his head," &c. In the last Act of The Second Part of King Henry IV. “ blew-bottle-rogue” (the reading of the quarto,) is changed by the editor of the folio to blew-bottled rogue," as he here substituted wasp-tongued for wasp-tongue.
Shakspeare certainly knew, as Mr. Steevens has observed, that the sting of a wasp lay in his tail ; nor is there in my apprehension any thing couched under the epithet wasp-tongue, inconsistent with that knowledge. It means only, having a tongue as peevish and mischievous (if such terms may be applied to that instrument of the mind) as a wasp. Thus, in As You Like It, waspish is used without any particular reference to any action of a wasp, but merely as synonymous to peevish or frelful :
By the stern 'brow and waspish action
“ It bears an angry tenour."
“ Her waspislı-headed son has broke his arrows,
Though this note has run out to an unreasonable length, I must add a passage in The Taming of the Shrew; which, while it shows that our author knew the sting of a wasp was really situated in its tail, proves at the same time that he thought it might with propriety be applied metaphorically to the tongue :
«Pet. Come, come, you wasp ; i' faith you are too angry.
“ Pet. Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? “ In his tail.
“ Cath. In his tongue.
“Cath. Yours, if you talk of tails," &c.
Hor. Why, look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd
with rods, Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke. In Richard's time,-What do you call the place ?A plague upon't-it is in Gloucestershire ; 'Twas where the mad-cap duke his uncle kept ; His uncle York ;-where I first bow'd my knee Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke, When you and he came back from Ravenspurg.
North. At Berkley castle.
Hor. You say true : Why, what a candy deal of courtesy This fawning greyhound then did proffer me ! Look,—when his infant fortune came to age", And,-gentle Harry Percy, -and, kind cousin,O, the devil take such cozeners * ! God forgive
have chosen. Independent, however, of all authority, or reference to other passages, it is supported by the context here. A person stung by a wasp would not be very likely to claim all the talk to himself, as Hotspur is described to do, but rather in the agony of pain to implore the assistance of those about him; whereas "the wasp-tongue fool” may well be supposed to “break into a woman's mood," and to listen to no tongue but his own."
Mr. M. Mason thinks that the words afterwards used by Hotspur are decisively in favour of wasp-stung,~“ Nettled and stung with pismires :" but Hotspur uses that expression to mark the poignancy of his own feelings ; Northumberland uses the term wasp-tongue to denote the irritability of his son's temper, and the petulance of his language. Malone.
I may seem to be overlaid by the foregoing note, but do not think myself defeated. The reader's patience, however, shall be no further exercised on the present occasion. Steevens.
2 - what a CANDY deal of courtesy -] i. e. what a deal of candy courtesy. Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors readcandy'd, without necessity. See also King Richard III. :
Grossly grew captive to his honey words :” not honey'd words. See the last note. Malone.
infant fortune came to age,) Alluding to what passed in King Richard, Act II. Sc. III. Johnson.
Good uncle, tell your tale, for * I have done.
Wor. Nay, if you have not, to't again,
I have done, i'faith.
Hot. Of York, is't not?
Wor. True ; who bears hard
Hot. I smell it ; upon my life, it will do well.
* Quarto omits, for.
the devil take such cozeners!] The same jingle occurs in Two Tragedies in One, &c. 1601 :
Come pretty cousin, cozened by grim death."
To cousin cozen'd in this sort." STEEVENS. 5 I speak not this in ESTIMATION] Estimation, for conjecture.
WARBURTON. let'st slip,] To let slip, is to loose the greyhound. Johnson.
Hor. Why, it cannot choose but be a noble
plot :And then the power of Scotland, and of York, To join with Mortimer, ha ?
And so they shall, Hor. In faith it is exceedingly well aim'd.
Wor, And 'tis no little reason bids us speed, To save our heads by raising of a head?: For, bear ourselves as even as we can, The king will always think him in our debt; And think we think ourselves unsatisfied, Till he hath found a time to pay us home. And see already how he doth begin To make us strangers to his looks of love. Hor. He does, he does; we'll be reveng'd on
him. Wor. Cousin ?, farewell :-No further go in this, Than I by letters shall direct your course, When time is ripe, (which will be suddenly,) I'll steal to Glendower, and lord Mortimer; Where you and Douglas, and our powers at once, (As I will fashion it,) shall happily meet, To bear our fortunes in our own strong arms, Which now we hold at much uncertainty.
So, in The Taming of the Shrew :
“ Lucentio slipp'd me, like his greyhound." Steevens, ? - by raising of a head:] A head is a body of forces.
JOHNSON. So, in King Henry VI. Part III. :
“ Making another head, to fight again." STEEVENS. 8 The king will always, &c.] This is a natural description of the state of mind between those that have conferred, and those that have received obligations too great to be satisfied.
That this would be the event of Northumberland's disloyalty, was predicted by King Richard in the former play. Johnson.
9 Cousin,] This was a common address in our author's time to nephews, nieces, and grandchildren. See Holinshed's Chronicle, passim. Hotspur was Worcester's nephew. MALONE.