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Others, like soldiers, armed in their stings,
was not a little sorry, that either their estates have not been longer, or your leisure more; for in my simple judgment, there was such an orderly government that men may not be ashamed to imitate them." Malone,
3 — and officers of sorts :] Thus the folio. The quarto reads sort ; i. e. high rank. See vol. vii. p. 7, n. 7; and vol. ix. p. 171, n. 2. Malone.
* Officers of sorts" means officers of different degrees.' In a London haberdasher's bill to his customer in the country, I lately saw the following charge: "To thread of sorts ; " i. e. of different kinds. STEEVENS.
In confirmation of Mr. Steevens's opinion it may be observed, that in A True Relation of the Admirable Voyage and Travel of William Bush, &c. 4to. 1607, we have “ – drummes and sortes of musicke." Reed.
- Venture trade abroad ;] To venture trade is a phrase of the same import and structure as to hazard battle. Johnson.
s The singing masons —] Our author probably had here two images in his thoughts. The hum of a bee is obvious. I believe he was also thinking of a common practice among masons, who, like many other artificers, frequently sing while at work : a practice that could not have escaped his observation. Malone.
civil — i. e. sober, grave. So, in Twelfth Night: “ Where is Malvolio? he is sad and civil," See vol. xi. p. 448, n. 3. STEEVENS.
- Kneading up the honey ;) To knead the honey gives an easy sense, though not physically true. The bees do, in fact, knead the way more than the honey, but that Shakspeare perhaps did not know. Johnson. The old quartos read~" lading up the honey." Steevens. to éxecutors -] Executors is here used for executioners,
The lazy yawning drone. I this infer,
It is so used by other authors. Thus, Burton, in the preface to
STEEVENS. 9 Without defeat.] The quartos 1600 and 1608 read:
“ Without defect." STEEVENS. empery,] This word, which signifies dominion, is now obsolete, though formerly in general use. So, in Claudius Tiberius Nero, 1607 :
“ Within the circuit of our empery." STEEVENS.
Tombless, with no remembrance over them :
with a paper epitaph.] This is the reading of the quartos, adopted by Mr. Malone. Mr. Steevens reads with the folio
Either a waren or a paper epitaph is an epitaph easily obliterated or destroyed; one which can confer no lasting honour on the dead.
To the ancient practice of writing on waxen tablets Shakspeare again alludes in the first scene of Timon of Athens :
but moves itself
“ In a wide sea of war." See notes on this passage. Thus also, in G. Whetstone's Garden of Unthristiness, 1576 :
“ In waxe, say I, men easily grave their will;
“ In marble stone the worke with paine is wonne :
STEEvens. The second reading is more unintelligible, to me at least, than the other : a grave not dignified with the slightest memorial.
JOHNSON. I think this passage has been misunderstood. Henry says, “he will either rule with full dominion in France, or die in the attempt, and lay his bones in a paltry urn, without a tomb, or any remembrance over him.” With a view to the alternative that he has just stated, he adds, by way of apposition and illustration, “either the English Chronicles shall speak, trumpet-tongued, to the world, of my victories in France, or, being defeated there, my death shall scarcely be mentioned in history; shall not be honoured by the best epitaph a prince can have, the written account of his achievements."-A paper epitaph, therefore, or, in other words, an historical eulogy, instead of a slight token of respect, is mentioned by Henry as the most honourable memorial ; and Dr. Johnson's objection founded on the incongruity of saying that his grave should not be dignified by the slightest memorial, falls to the ground.
Dryden has a similar expression in the dedication of his poem entitled Eleonora to the Earl of Abingdon : “ Be pleased to accept of these my unworthy labours ; this paper monument."
The misrepresentation, I conceive, arose from understanding a figurative expression literally, and supposing that a paper epitaph meant an epitaph written on a paper, to be a fixed to a tomb.
Enter Ambassadors of France. Now are we well prepar'd to know the pleasure Of our fair cousin Dauphin; for, we hear, Your greeting is from him, not from the king.
Amb. May it please your majesty, to give us leave
Waxen, the reading of the folio, when it is used by Shakspeare metaphorically, signifies soft, yielding, taking an impression easily ; (so, in Twelfth-Night, women's waren hearts ;" and, in The Rape of Lucrece, “For men have marble, women waren minds," &c.) and consequently might mean also-easily obliterated : but this meaning is quite inconsistent with the context ; for in the former part of the passage the event of Henry's being buried without a tomb, and without an epitaph, has been already stated, and therefore the want of an epitaph (in its literal acceptation) could not with propriety again be insisted on, in the latter member of the sentence, which relates to a different point; the question in this place being only, whether his deeds should be emblazoned by narration, or his actions and his bones together consigned to “ dust and damn'd oblivion."
If any alteration was made by the author, in this passage, he might perhaps have changed the epithet paper to lasting, and the transcriber who prepared the folio copy for the press, might have been deceived by his ear, and have written waxen instead of the latter word. There is not indeed much similarity in the sound of the two words ; but mistakes equally gross are found in these plays, which, it is highly probable, happened in this way. Thus, in this very play, the folio has name for mare. See p. 296, n. 5. Our poet's 55th Sonnet furnishes a strong confirmation of my interpretation of this passage:
“ Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
“ The living record of your memory;" &c. So also, in his 81st Sonnet:
“ Your monument shall be my gentle verse.” Malone. Mr. Gifford thinks the expression- a waxen epitaph, alludes to a custom still prevalent on the Continent, and anciently in this country, to affix laudatory poems, epitaphs, &c. to the herse, with pins, wax, paste, &c. See his edition of Ben Jonson, vol. ix. p. 58.
Freely to render what we have in charge;
K. Hen. We are no tyrant, but a Christian king;
Thus then, in few.
* Quarto, pleasure.
STEEVENS. Galliards are thus described by Sir John Davis, in his poem called Orchestra :
“ But for more diverse and more pleasing show,
“ A swift and wand'ring dance she did invent,
“ Yet with a certain answer and consent
Five was the number of the musick's feet,
“ Which still the dance did with five paces meet ; “A gallant dance, that lively doth bewray
"A spirit and a virtue masculine,
“ With lofty turns and capriols in the air,