Page images
PDF
EPUB

SCENE V.

A public Place near Westminster Abbey.

Enter Two Grooms, strewing Rushes.
1 Groom. More rushes, more rushes!
2 Groom. The trumpets have sounded twice.

1 Groom. It will be two o'clock ere they come from the coronation: Despatch, despatch.

[Exeunt Grooms. Enter FALSTAFF, SHALLOW, Pistol, BARDOLPH,

and the Page. FAL. Stand here by me, master Robert Shallow; I will make the king do you grace: I will leer upon

9- you rascAL!] In the language of the forest, lean deer were called rascal deer. See p.373, n. 4. Steevens.

On this note the following observation has been made: “ Doll could not speak but in the language of the forest. Rascal, does not signify rascal, but lean deer. See what it is to be on the watch to show a little musty reading and unknown knowledge.”

Who, except this superficial writer, is so little acquainted with our author's manner, as not to know that he often introduces allusions to customs and practices with which he was himself conversant, without being solicitous whether it was probable that the speaker should have known any thing of the matter. Thus, to give one instance out of a thousand, he puts into the mouth of kings the language of his own stage, and makes them talk of cues and properties, who never had been in a tiring-room, and probably had never heard of either the one or the other. Of the language of the forest he was extremely fond ; and the particular term rascal he has introduced in at least a dozen places.

Malone. More rushes, &c.] It has been already observed, that, at ceremonial entertainments, it was the custom to strew the floor with rushes. Caius de Ephemera. Johnson.

Chambers, and indeed all apartments usually inhabited, were formerly strewed in this manner. As our ancestors rarely washed their floors, disguises of uncleanliness became necessary things. See note on Cymbeline, Act II. Sc. II.-In the present instance. however, the rushes are supposed to be scattered on the pavement of a street, or on a platform. Steevens.

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

him, as 'a comes by ; and do but mark the countenance that he will give me.

Pist. God bless thy lungs, good knight.

Fal. Come here, Pistol ; stand behind me.-0, if I had had time to have made new liveries, I would have bestowed the thousand pound I borrowed of you. [TO SHALLOW.] But 'tis no matter; this poor

show doth better : this doth infer the zeal I had to see him.

SHAL. It doth so.
FAL. It shows my earnestness of affection.
SHAL. It doth so.
FAL. My devotion.
Shal. It doth, it doth, it doth”.

Fal. As it were, to ride day and night; and not to deliberate, not to remember, not to have patience to shift me.

SHAL. It is most certain.

Fal. But to stand stained with travel', and sweating with desire to see him : thinking of nothing else; putting all affairs else in oblivion; as if there were nothing else to be done, but to see him.

Pist. 'Tis semper idem, for absque hoc nihil est : 'Tis all in every part **.

* Quartos, 'Tis in every part. 2 It doth, it doth, it doth.] The two little answers which are given to Pistol in the old copy, are transferred by Sir Thomas Hanmer to Shallow. The repetition of it doth suits Shallow best.

Johnson. In the quarto, Shallow's first speech in this scene, as well as these two, is erroneously given to Pistol. The editors of the folio corrected the former, but overlooked these. They likewise, in my apprehension, overlooked an error in the end of Falstaff's speech, below, though they corrected one in the beginning of it. See note 4. MALONE.

to stand stained WITH TRAVEL,] So, in King Henry IV. Part I. :

“ Stain'd with the variation of each soil,

Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours.” Malone, 4 – 'Tis all in every part.] The sentence alluded to is :

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

3

[ocr errors]

SHAL. 'Tis so, indeed.

Pist. My knight, I will inflame thy noble liver, And make thee rage. . Thy Doll, and Helen of thy noble thoughts, Is in base durance, and contagious prison ; Haul'd thither By most mechanical and dirty hand :Rouze up revenge from ebon den with fell Alecto's

snake, For Doll is in ; Pistol speaks nought but truth. Fal. I will deliver her.

[Shouts within, and the trumpets sound. Pist. There roar'd the sea, and trumpet-clangor

sounds,

“ 'Tis all in all, and all in every part.” And so doubtless it should be read. "Tis a common way of expressing one's approbation of a right measure to say, “ 'tis all in all.” To which this fantastick ch cter adds, with some humour, "and all in every part:" which, both together, make the philosophick sentence, and complete the absurdity of Pistol's phraseology. WARBURTON.

I strongly suspect that these words belong to Falstaff's speech. They have nothing of Pistol's manner. In the original copy in quarto, the speeches in this scene are all in confusion. The two speeches preceding this, which are jumbled together, are given to Shallow, and stand thus : “ Sh. It is best certain : but to stand stained with travel,” &c.

The allusion, if any allusion there be, is to the description of the soul. So, in Nosce Teipsum, by Sir John Davies, 4to. 1599 :

say,

she's all in all, and all in every part.Again, in Drayton's Mortimeriados, 4to. 1596 :

“ And as his soul possesseth head and heart,

She's all in all, and all in every part.MALONE. In The Phænix Nest, &c. 4to. 1593, we find, p. 20: “ Tota in toto, et tota in qualibet parte.” Ritson.

In my opinion, this speech accords but little with the phraseology of Falstaff; and, on the contrary, agrees well with that of Pistol, who (as Moth in Love's Labour's Lost says of Holofernes) appears to “have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.” See his concluding words in the scene

“ Some

STEEVENS.

before us.

Enter King and his Train, the Chief Justice among

them. FAL. God save thy grace, king Hal”! my royal Hal!

Pist. The heavens thee guard and keep, most royal imp of fame !

FAL. God save thee, my sweet boy!
King. My lord chief justice, speak to that vain

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

man.

[blocks in formation]

Ch. Just. Have you your wits ? know you

what 'tis you speak? FAL. My king ! my Jove?! I speak to thee my

heart!

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

s God save thy grace, king Hal!] A similar scene occurs in the anonymous Henry V. Falstaff and his companions address the King in the same manner, and are dismissed as in this play of Shakspeare. STEEVENS.

o – most royal imp of fame!] The word imp is perpetually used by Ulpian Fulwell, and other ancient writers, for progeny:

i And were it not thy royal impe

“Did mitigate our pain—'
Here Fulwell addresses Anne Boleyn, and speaks of the young
Elizabeth. Churchyard also calls Edward VI. “impe of grace.
Again, in The Battle of Alcazar, 1594 :

Amurath, mighty emperor of the east, “ That shall receive the imp of royal race.” Again, in Fuimus Troes, 1633 :

from hence I bring “ A pair of martial impsImp-yn is a Welsh word, and primitively signifies a sprout, a sucker. So, in the tragedy of Darius, 1603 :

“ Like th' ancient trunk of some disbranched tree

“ Which Eol's rage hath to confusion brought, “ Disarm’d of all those imps that sprung from me,

Unprofitable stock, I serve for nought.” Again, in Thomas Newton's Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587, there is a chapter on “shrubs, shootes, slippes, graffes, sets, sprigges, boughs, branches, twigs, yoong imps, sprayes, and buds.”

Steevens. 7 My king! my Jove !] It appears, from many passages both

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

King. I know thee not, old man: Fall to thy

prayers ; How ill white hairs become a fool, and jester! I have long dream’d of such a kind of man, So surfeit-swell’d, so old, and so profane ; But, being awake, I do despise my dream. Make less thy body, hence, and more thy grace; Leave gormandizing; know, the grave doth gape For thee thrice wider than for other men :Reply not to me with a fool-born jest'; Presume not that I am the thing I was: For heaven doth know, so shall the world perceive,

[ocr errors]

9

1

in our author's plays and poems, that he had diligently read the earlier pieces of Daniel. When he wrote the speech before us, he perhaps remembered these lines in Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, 1594 :

“ Doost thou not see, how that thy king, thy Jove,

Lightens forth glory on thy dark estate? Malone. 8 - profane ;) In our author it often signifies love of talk, without the particular idea now given it. So, in Othello : “ Is he not a profane and very liberal counsellor ?” Johnson. - hence,] i. e. henceforward, from this time, in the future.

STEEVENS.
know, the grave doth

gape
For thee thrice wider than for other men :-

Reply not to me with a fool-born jest ;] Nature is highly touched in this passage. The King having shaken off his vanities, schools his old companion for his follies with great severity: he assumes the air of a preacher, bids him fall to his prayers, seek grace, and leave gormandizing. But that word unluckily presenting him with a pleasant idea, he cannot forbear pursuing it. Know,

doth
gape

for thee thrice wider," &c. and is just falling back into Hal, hy an humorous allusion to Falstaff's bulk; but he perceives it immediately, and fearing Sir John should take the advantage of it, checks both himself and the knight, with

Reply not to me with a fool-born jest ; And so resumes the thread of his discourse, and goes moralizing on to the end of the chapter. Thus the poet copies nature with great skill, and shows us how apt men are to fall back into their old customs, when the change is not made by degrees, and brought into a habit, but determined of at once, on the motives of honour, interest, or reason. WARBURTON.

the grave

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »