Page images
PDF
EPUB

Wor. Ay, by my faith, that bears a frosty sound. Hor. What may the king's whole battle reach

unto? Ver. To thirty thousand. Hor.

Forty let it be; My father and Glendower being both away, The powers of us may serve so great a day. Come, let us make a muster speedily: Doomsday is near; die all, die merrily.

Doug. Talk not of dying; I am out of fear Of death, or death's hand, for this one half year.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II.

A publick Road near Coventry.

Enter FALSTAFF and BARDOLPH. FAL. Bardolph, get thee before to Coventry ; fill me a bottle of sack: our soldiers shall march through; we'll to Sutton-Colfield to-night.

BARD. Will you give me money, captain ?
Fal. Lay out, lay out.
Bard. This bottle makes an angel.

FAL. An if it do, take it for thy labour; and if it make twenty, take them all, I'll answer the coinage. Bid my lieutenant Peto' meet me at the town's end. Bard. I will, captain: farewell.

[Erit. Fal. If I be not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a souced gurnet?. I have misused the king's press

lieutenant Peto -] This passage proves that Peto did not go with the Prince.

Johnson. ? - souced gurnet.] This is a dish mentioned in that very laughable poem called The Counter-scuse, 1658 :

“ Stuck thick with cloves upon the back,
“ Well stuff'd with sage, and for the smack,
“ Daintily strew'd with pepper black,

Souc'd gurnet."

ty sount tle read

damnably. I have got, in exchange of a hundred and fifty soldiers, three hundred and odd pounds. I press me none but good householders “, yeomen's sons: inquire me out contracted bachelors, such as had been asked twice on the bans; such a commodity of warm slaves, as had as lief hear the devil as a drum; such as fear the report of a caliver, worse than a struck fowl, or a hurt wild-duck”. I pressed

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Souced gurnet is an appellation of contempt very frequently employed in the old comedies. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635 :

“ Punck !

you souc'd gurnet !" Again, in the Prologue to Wily Beguiled, 1606 :

“ Out you souced gurnet, you wool-fist !"
Among the Cotton MSS. is a part of an old household book for
the year 1594. See Vesp. f. xvi. :

Supper. Paid for a gurnard, viii. d." STEEVENS.
A gurnet is a fish very nearly resembling a piper.

It should seem from one of Taylor's pieces, entitled A Bawd, 12mo. 1635, that a souced gurnet was sometimes used in the same metaphorical sense in which we now frequently use the word gudgeon : “ Though she a bawd) live after the flesh, all is fish that comes to the net with her ;-She hath baytes for all kinde of frye : a great lord is her Greenland whale; a countrey gentleman is her cods-head; a rich citizen's son is her sowsåd gurnet, or her gudgeon." MALONE.

- I have misused the king's press damnably.) Thus, in the Voyage to Cadiz, 1597. [See Hakluyt, vol. i. p. 607.] “ - about the 28 of the said moneth, a certaine Lieutenant was degraded and cashierd, &c. for the taking of money by the way of corruption of certaine prest souldiers in the countrey, and for placing of others in their roomes, more unfit for service, and of less sufficiency and abilitie.” STEEVENS,

4 – I press me none but good householders, &c.] This practice is complained of in Barnabie Riche's Souldier's Wishe to Briton's Welfare, or Captaine Skill and Captaine Pill, 1604, p. 62:

Sir, I perceive by the sound of your words you are a favourite to Captaines, and I thinke you could be contented, that to serve the expedition of these times, we should take up honest householders, men that are of wealth and abilitie to live at home, such as your captaines might chop and chaunge, and make marchandise of,” &c. STEEVENS.

worse than a struck Fowl, or a hurt wild-duck.] The repetition of the same image disposed Sir Thomas Hanmer, and

3

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

me none but such toasts and butter, with hearts in their bellies no bigger than pins' heads, and they have bought out their services; and now my whole charge consists of ancients, corporals, lieutenants, gentlemen of companies, slaves as ragged as Lazarus in the painted cloth, where the glutton's dogs licked his sores : and such as, indeed, were never soldiers; but discarded unjust serving men, younger sons to younger brothers”, revolted tapsters, and ostlers trade fallen; the cankers of a calm world,

after him Dr. Warburton, to read, in opposition to all the copies, a struck deer, which is indeed a proper expression, but not likely to have been corrupted. Shakspeare, perhaps, wrote a-struck sorrel, which, being negligently read by a man not skilled in hunter's language, was easily changed to struck fowl. Sorrel is used in Love's Labour's Lost for a young deer ; and the terms of the chase were, in our author's time, familiar to the ears of every gentleman. JOHNSON,

" - fowl." Thus the first quarto, 1598. In a subsequent copy (1608) the word fowl being erroneously printed fool, that error was adopted in the quarto 1613, and consequently in the folio, which was printed from it. MALONE.

Fowl seems to have been the word designed by the poet, who might have thought an opposition between fowl, i. e. domestick birds, and wild-fowl, sufficient on this occasion. He has almost the same expression in Much Ado About Nothing : “Alas poor hurt fowl! now will he creep into sedges." Steevens.

such toasts and butter,} This term of contempt is used in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wit without Money : They love

young
toasts and butter, Bow-bell suckers."

STEEVENS. “ Londiners, and all within the sound of Bow-bell, are in reproach called cocknies, and eaters of buttered tostes.Moryson's Itin. 1617. MALONE.

.? — younger sons to younger brothers, &c.] Raleigh, in his Discourse on War, uses this very expression for men of desperate fortune and wild adventure. Which borrowed it from the other, I know not, but I think the play was printed before the Discourse.

Johnson. Perhaps Oliver Cromwell was indebted to this speech, for the sarcasm which he threw out on the soldiers commanded by Hampden : “ Your troops are most of them old decayed serving men and tapsters,&c. STEVENS.

6

th her and the

and a long peace ®; ten times more dishonourable ragged than an old faced ancient '; and such have

utenant

8

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

9

[blocks in formation]

ment.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

cankers of a calm WORLD, and a long peace;] So, in The Puritan : “ hatched and nourished in the idle calmness of peace.” Again, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication to the Devil, 1592 : “ - all the canker-wormes that breed on the rust of peace.” STEEVENS.

ten times more dishonourable ragged than an old faced ancient :] Shakspeare uses this word so promiscuously to signify an ensign or standard-bearer, and also the colours or standard borne, that I cannot be at a certainty for his allusion here. If the text be genuine, I think the meaning must be, as dishonourably ragged as one that has been an ensign all his days; that has let age creep upon him, and never had merit enough to gain prefer

Dr Warburton, who understands it in the second construction, has suspected the text, and given the following ingenious emendation : “ How is an old-faced ancient or ensign, dishonourably ragged? on the contrary, nothing is esteemed more honourable than a ragged pair of colours. A very little alteration will restore it to its original sense, which contains a touch of the strongest and most fine-turned satire in the world : '- ten times more dishonourably ragged than an old feast ancient;' i. e. the colours used by the city-companies in their feasts and processions; for each company had one with its peculiar device, which was usually displayed and borne about on such occasions. Now nothing could be more witty or sarcastical than this comparison : for as Falstaff's ragamuffins were reduced to their tattered condition through their riotous excesses; so this old feast ancient became torn and shattered, not in any manly exercise of arms, but amidst the revels of drunken bachanals." THEOBALD.

Dr. Warburtor.'s emendation is very acute and judicious ; but I know not whether the licentiousness of our author's diction may not allow us to suppose that he meant to represent his soldiers, as more ragged, though less honourably ragged, than an old ancient.

JOHNSON. “ An old faced ancient,” is an old standard mended with a different colour. It should not be written in one word, as old and faced are distinct epithets. To face a gown is to trim it; an expression at present in use. In our author's time the facings of gowns were always of a colour different from the stuff itself. So, in this play :

To face the garment of rebellion

“ With some fine colour."
Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611 :

“ Your tawny coats with greasy facings here." STEEVENS. So, in The Puritan, a comedy, 1607 : full of holes, like VOL, XVI.

2 B

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

I, to fill up the rooms of them that have bought out their services, that you would think that I had a hundred and fifty tattered prodigals, lately come from swine-keeping, from eating draff and husks. A mad fellow met me on the way, and told me I had unloaded all the gibbets, and pressed the dead bodies. No eye hath seen such scarecrows.

I'll not march through Coventry with them, that's flat: -Nay, and the villains march wide betwixt the legs, as if they had gyves on’; for, indeed, I had the most of them out of prison. There's but a shirt and a half? in all my company: and the half-shirt is two napkins, tacked together, and thrown over the shoulders like a herald's coat with. out sleeves; and the shirt, to say the truth, stolen from my host at St. Albans, or the red-nose innkeeper of Daintry'. But that's all one; they'll find linen* enough on every hedge.

1

a shot ancient." The modern editors, instead of dishonourable read-dishonourably; but the change is unnecessary, for our author frequently uses adjectives adverbially. So again, in this play:

“ And since this business so fair is done.” Again, in King Henry VIII. : “ He is equal ravenous as he is subtle.” Again, in Hamlet : "I am myself indifferent honest." Again, in The Taming of the Shrew :

“ Her only fault

« Is that she is intolerable curst." See also vol. iv. p. 438, n. 7. MALONE.

Gyves on ;] i. e. shackles. Pope. So, in the old Morality of Hycke Scorner :

“ And I will go fetch a pair of gyves.” Again : They be yeomen of the wrethe, that be shackled in gyves."

Steevens. There's but a shirt and a half-] The old copies read“ There's not a shirt," &c. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. In The Merchant of Venice, printed by J. Roberts, 4to. 1600, but has taken the place of not :

Repent but you that you shall lose your friend." MALONE. 3 - of DaINTRY.) i. e. Daventry. Steevens.

FIND linen, &c.] This propensity of soldiers in a

4

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »