Page images
PDF
EPUB

Which likes me better than to wish us one.-
You know your places: God be with you all !

Tucket. Enter MONTJOY.

Mont. Once more I come to know of thee, king Harry,

If for thy ransom thou wilt now compound,
Before thy most assured overthrow:
For, certainly, thou art so near the gulf
Thou needs must be englutted. Besides, in

mercy,
The Constable desires thee-thou wilt mind
Thy followers of repentance; that their souls
May make a peaceful and a sweet retire
From off these fields, where (wretches) their poor bodies

Must lie and fester.
K. HEN.

Who hath sent thee now?
MONT. The constable of France.
K. HEN. I pray thee, bear my former answer back;
Bid them achieve me, and then sell my

bones.
Good God ! why should they mock poor fellows thus ?
The man that once did sell the lion's skin
While the beast liv'd, was kill'd with hunting him.
A many of our bodies shall, no doubt,
Find native graves; upon the which, I trust,
Shall witness live in brass of this day's work:
And those that leave their valiant bones in France,
Dying like men, though buried in your dunghills,
They shall be fam'd; for there the sun shall greet them,
And draw their honours reeking up to heaven;
Leaving their earthly parts to choke your clime,
The smell whereof shall breed a plague in France.
Mark then abounding valour in our English;
That, being dead, like to the bullet's grazing,
Break out into a second course of mischief,
Killing in relapse of mortality".
Let me speak proudly :-Tell the Constable,
We are but warriors for the working-dayd:
Our gayness, and our gilt, are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There 's not a piece of feather in our host,

(Good argument, I hope, we will not fly,) • This is the thought of the Italian proverb: "Non vender la pelle del orso inanzi che sia preso.”

Abounding. The quarto, aboundant. Theobald and Steevens read a bounding. If any chango is to be made we had better say rebounding.

Relapse of mortality—the falling back from death to a killing power approaching to vitality. « Warriors for the working-day-we are soldiers ready for work-not dressed-up for a holiday.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And time hath worn us into slovenry :
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim :
And my poor soldiers tell me, yet ere night
They 'll be in fresher robes ; or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads,
And turn them out of service. If they do this,
(As, if God please, they shall,) my ransom then
Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour;
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald;
They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints :
Which if they have as I will leave 'em them,

Shall yield them little, tell the Constable.
MONT. I shall, king Harry. And so fare thee well:

Thou never shalt hear herald any more.
K. HEN. I fear, thou wilt once more come again for a ransom.

[Exit.

Enter the DUKE OF YORK.

YORK. My lord, most humbly on my knee I beg

The leading of the vaward.
K. HEN. Take it, brave York.--Now, soldiers, march away :-

And how thou pleasest, God, dispose the day !

[ocr errors]

[Exeunt.

SCENE IV.--The Field of Battle.

Alarums; Excursions. Enter French Soldier, Pistol, and Boy. Pist. Yield, cur. FR. Sol. Je pense que vous estes le gentilhomme de bonne qualité. Pist. Quality! Calen o Custure me“. Art thou a gentleman? What is thy

name? discuss.
FR. SOL. O Seigneur Dieu !
Pist. O, signieur Dew should be a gentleman :-

Perpend my words, O signieur Dew, and mark;
O signieur Dew, thou diest on point of fox,

[ocr errors]

6

Calen o Custure me. In the folio we find “calmie custure me,” which has been turned, in the modern editions, into “call you me ? Construe me.” Malone found out the enigma. In 'A Handeful of pleasant Delites' (1584) we have “Sundry new Sonets, in divers kinds of meeter, newly devised to the newest tunes that are now in use to be sung;" and amongst others, “ A Sonet of a Lover in the praise of his Lady; to · Calen o custure me:' sung at everie line's end." When the French soldier says qualité, Pistol by the somewhat similar sound is reminded of the song of Calen 0;—or, as it is given in Playford's Musical Companion,' Calli-no. Boswell, who gives the music of the refrain, which he says means “ Little girl of my heart, for ever and ever," adds that the words “ have no great connection with the Frenchman's supplication.” Certainly not. But the similarity of sound, as in subsequent cases, suggested the words to Pistol.

• Forma cant word for a sword. It was used by Congreve: “ I have an old fox by my thigh."

6

Except, O signiear, thou do give to me

Egregious ransom.
FR. SOL. O, prennez misericordo! ayez pitié de moy!
Prst. Moy shall not serve, I will have forty moys;

For I will fetch thy rim out at thy throat,

In drops of crimson blood.
FR. Sol. Est il impossible d'eschapper la force de ton bras?
Pist. Brass , cur !

Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat,

Offer'st me brass ?
FE. SOL. O pardonnez moy.
Pist. Say'st thou me so ? is that a ton of moysC?

Come hither, boy: Ask me this slave in French,

What is his name. Boy. Escoutez; Comment estes vous appellé ? FR. SOL. Monsieur le Fer. Boy. He says his name is master Fer. Pist. Master Fer! I'll fer him, and fork him, and ferret him :- discuss the

same in French unto him. Boy. I do not know the French for fer, and ferret, and firk. Pist. Bid him prepare, for I will cut his throat. FR. SOL. Que dit-il, monsieur ? Boy. Il me commande de vous dire que vous faites vous prest; car ce soldat icy

est disposé tout à cette heure de couper vostre gorge. Pist. Ouy, couper gorge, par ma foy, pesant.

Unless thou give me crowns, brave crowns ;

Or mangled shalt thou be by this my sword. FR. Sol. O, je vous supplie, pour l'amour de Dieu, me pardonner! Je suis

Rim. Warburton would read ransom; Mason, ryno; Steevens proves that rim is part of the intestines. The word in the folio is rymme. We must hazard a conjecture. The Frenchman is using somewhat guttural sounds to Pistol-prennez misericorde ; and the English bully designates the accentuation by a word (rymme) which seems to him to mark the sounds so discordant and unintelligible. In the same way we still speak of the Northumbrian burr. Further, the AngloSaxon noun reoma means rheum and rime; and Pistol may think that the rime in the throat, which he will fetch out in drops of crimson blood, is the cause of the offensive sounds.

Brass. The critics have decided that, because Pistol mistakes bras for brass and subsequently thinks moi (then spelt moy) is pronounced moy, Shakspere “had very little knowledge in the French language.” We have two pages of notes in the variorum editions to prove this. But the critics have not proved what was the pronunciation of the French language in Shakspere's time, especially with regard to the now silent sl; and if they had proved that bras was always pronounced bra (or braw as Malone has it), and moy as we now pronounce moi, they have missed the fact that Pistol knew a little French (see Act II., Scene 1); and though the Frenchman might have said bra and moi, the sound might have suggested to Pistol the words which he had seen written bras and moy; -and thus his “ offer'st me brass," and bis “forty moys."

Ton of moys. Par-tonnez moy-perhaps the then received mode of pronunciation-suggests the “ ton of moys." But what is a moy? Johnson says “moi” is a piece of money, whence moi-dore. Douce is hard upon the derivation of moidore, and says that moy meant a measure of corn. Without defending Pistol's or Dr. Johnson's etymology, we believe Douce is mistaken. Pistol clearly takes moy for money of some sort.

n

gentilhomme de bonne maison; gardez ma vie, et je vous donneray deux cent

escus. Pist. What are his words? Boy. He prays you to save his life : he is a gentleman of a good house; and for

his ransom he will give you two hundred crowns. Pist. Tell him,-my fury shall abate, and I

The crowns will take. FR. SOL. Petit monsieur, que dit-il ? Boy. Encore qu'il est contre son jurement de pardonner aucun prisonnier; neant

moins, pour les escus que vous l'avez promis, il est content de vous donner la

liberté, le franchisement. FR. SOL. Sur mes genoux je vous donne millo remerciemens : et je m'estime

heureux que je suis tombé entre les mains d'un chevalier, je pense, le plus brave,

valiant, et très distingué seigneur d'Angleterre. Pist. Expound unto me, boy. Boy. He gives you, upon bis knees, a thousand thanks: and he esteems himself

happy that he hath fallen into the hands of one (as he thinks) the most

brave, valorous, and thrice-worthy signieur of England. Pist. As I suck blood, I will some mercy show.Follow me.

[Exit PISTOL. Boy. Suivez vous le grand capitaine. (Exit French Soldier.] I did never

know so full a voice issue from so empty a heart: but the saying is true,the empty vessel makes the greatest sound. Bardolph and Nym had ten times more valour than this roaring devil i' the old play", that every one may pare his nails with a wooden dagger; and they are both hanged; and 80 would this be, if he durst steal anything adventurously. I must stay with the lackeys, with the luggage of our camp: the French might bave & good prey of us, if he knew of it; for there is none to guard it but boys.

[Exit.

SCENE V.-Another Part of the Field of Battle.

Alarums. Enter DAUPHIN, ORLEANS, BOURBON, CONSTABLE, RAMBURES, and

others.
Con. O diable !
ORL. O seigneur !-le jour est perdu, tout est perdu !
Dau. Mort de ma vie! all is confounded, all !

Reproach and everlasting shame
Sits mocking in our plumes.-O meschante fortune !
Do not run away.

(A short alarum. Con.

Why, all our ranks are broke.
Dao. O perdurable shame!-let's stab ourselves.
Be these the wretches that we play'd at dice for?

• See Illustrations to 'Henry IV., Part II.,' Act III.

ORL. Is this the king we sent to for his ransom ?
BOUR. Shame, and eternal shame, nothing but shame!

Let's die in honour": Once more back again ;
And he that will not follow Bourbon now,
Let him go hence, and, with his cap in band,
Like a base pander, hold the chamber-door,
Whilst by a slave', no gentler than my dog,

His fairest daughter is contaminated.
Con. Disorder, that hath spoil'd us, friend us now!
Let us, on heaps, go offer

up our lives. ORL. We are enow, yet living in the field,

To smother up the English in our throngs,

If any order might be thought upon.
BOUR. The devil take order now! I 'll to the throng;

Let life be short; else shame will be too long.

[Exeunt.

SCENE VI.-Another Part of the Field. Alarums. Enter KING HENRY and Forces; EXETER, and others, with prisoners. K. HEN. Well have we done, thrice valiant countrymon :

But all 's not done, yet keep the French the field. • Let's die in honour. The ordinary reading is “Let us die instant." Malone would read, u Let us die in fight." The folio reads, “Let us die in;" which Mason says is the true reading. To justify and explain our reading we must exhibit the greatly altered scene of the quarto; which is also a curious example of the mode in which the text of the folio was expanded and amended, -and that certainly by the poet:

“ GEBON. O diabello!

Con. Mort de ma vie!
ORL O what a day is this!
BOUR. O jour del honte! all is gone; all is lost !
Cox. We are enow yet living in the field

To smother up the English,

If any order might be thought upon.
BOUR. A plague of order! once more to the field;

And he that will not follow Bourbon now,

Let him go, &c.
Con. Disorder, that hath spoil'd us, right us now!

Come we in heaps, we ’ll offer up our lives
Unto these English, or else die with fame.
Come, come along:

Let 's die with honour; our shame doth last too long." It is wonderful how the commentators have misused this text, without endeavouring by it to illustrate the difficulty in the text of the folio. A word is omitted of some sort:- the quarto gives them the very passage "Let 's die with honour." But that they refuse to see; and although the whole scene has been so amplified and improved, they “ restore a line from the quarto” which is not found in the folio

“ Unto these English, or else die with fame." Shakspere had previously given the sentiment in “ Let's die in honour;" the word “honour” being unquestionably omitted in the printing of what he wrote.

. By a slave. The folio has a base slave, omitting by.

« PreviousContinue »