Page images
PDF
EPUB

Which cannot go but thirty miles a day,
Compare with Cæsars, and with Cannibals,'
And Trojan Greeks? nay, rather damn them with
King Cerberus; and let the welkin roar.2
Shall we fall foul for toys?

Host. By my troth, captain, these are very bitter words.

Bard. Be gone, good ancient: this will grow to a brawl anon.

Pist. Die men, like dogs;s give crowns like pins; Have we not Hiren here?

Host. O' my word, captain, there 's none such here. 4

1

The Coxcomb. Young, however, has borrowed the idea for the use of his Busiris :

“ Have we not seen him shake his silver reins
“ O'er harness'd monarchs, to his chariot yok'd ?"

Steevens. Cannibals,] Cannibal is used by a blunder for Hannibal. This was afterwards copied by Congreve's Bluff and Wittol. Bluff is a character apparently taken from this of ancient Pistol.

Fohnson. Perhaps the character of a bully on the English stage might have been originally taken from Pistol; but Congreve seems to have copied his Nol Bluff more immediately from Jonson's Captain Bobadil. Steevens. 2

and let the welkin roar. ] Part of the words of an old bal. lad, entitled What the Father gathereth with the Rake, the Son doth scatter with the Forke;

Let the welkin roare,

“ Ile never give ore,” &c. Again, in another ancient song, called The Man in the Moon drinks Claret:

" Drink wine till the welkin roares,
“ And cry out p- of your scores.

Steevens. So, in Eastward Hoe, 1605; “. turn swaggering gallant, and let the welkin roar, and Erebus also.” Malone.

3 Die men, like dogs;] This expression I find in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

" Your lieutenant 's an ass.
“How an ass! Die men like dogs.?Steevens.

Have we not Hiren here?
Host. O my word, captain, there's none such here.] i. e. shall
I fear, that have this trusty and invincible sword by my side?
For, as King Arthur's swords were called Caliburne and Ron; as
Edward the Confessor's, Curtana; as Charlemagne's, Joyeuse ;
Orlando's, Durindana ; Rinaldo's, Fusberta; and Rogero's, Bali-
sarda; so Pistol, in imitation of these heroes, calls his sword
Hiren. I have been told, Amadis de Gaul had a sword of this

What the good-year! do you think, I would deny her? for God's sake, be quiet.

Pist. Then, feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis:5 Come, give 's some sack.

Si fortuna me tormenta, sperato me contenta.6.

name.

Hirir is to strike, and from hence it seems probable that Hiren may be derived; and so signify a swashing, cutting sword. -But what wonderful humour is there in the good Hostess so innocently mistaking Pistol's drift, fancying that he meant to fight for a whore in the house, and therefore telling him, O my word, captain, there's none such here; what the good-year! do you think, I would deny her? Theobald.

As it appears from a former note, that Hiren was sometimes a cant term for a mistress or harlot, Pistol may be supposed to give it on this occasion, as an endearing name, to his sword, in the same spirit of fondness that he presently calls it--sweetheart.

Steevens. I see no ground for supposing that the words bear a different meaning here from what they did in a former passage. He is still, I think, merely quoting the same play he had quoted before.

Malone. Have we not Hiren here?) I know not whence Shakspeare derived this allusion to Arthur's lance. " Accinctus etiam Caliburno gladio optimo, lancea nomine IRON, dexteram suam decoravit.” M. Westmonasteriensis, p. 98. Bowle. Geoffery of Monmouth, p. 65, reads Ron instead of Iron.

Steevens. - feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis:) This is a burlesque on a line

in an old play called The Battel of Alcazar, &c. printed in 1594, in which Muley Mahomet enters to his wife with lion's Aesh on his sword:

“ Feed then, and faint not, my faire Calypolis.And again, in the same play:

“ Hold thee Calipolis; feed, and faint no more." And again:

Feed and be fat, that we may meet the foe,

• With strength and terrour to revenge our wrong." This line is quoted in several of the old plays; and Decker in his Satiromastix, 1602, has introduced Shakspeare's burlesque of it: “Feed and be fat, my fair Calipolis: stir not my beauteous wriggle-tails.” Steevens.

It is likewise quoted by Marston, in his What you will, 1607, as stands in Shakspeare. Malone.

6 Si fortuna me tormenta, sperato me contenta.] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:

Si fortuna me tormenta, il sperare me contenta.--. which is undoubtedly the true reading; but perhaps it was in tended that Pistol should corrupt it. Fohnson.

5

Fear we broadsides? no, let the fiend give fire:
Give me some sack;-and, sweetheart, lie thou there.

[Laying down his sword. Come we to full points here;? and are et cetera's nothing?

Fal, Pistol, I would be quiet.

Pist. Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif:8 What! we have seen the seven stars.

Dol. Thrust him down stairs; I cannot endure such a fustian rascal.

Pist. Thrust him down stairs! know we not Galloway nags? 9

Fal. Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling:1 nay, if he do nothing but speak nothing, he shall be nothing here.

Pistol is only a copy of Hannibal Gonsaga, who vaunted on yielding himself a prisoner, as you may read in an old collection of tales, called Wits, Fits, and Fancies :

“ Si fortuna me tormenta,

“ Il speranza me contenta." And Sir Richard Hawkins, in his Voyage to the South-Sea, 1593, throws out the same gingling distich on the loss of his pinnace.

Farmer. ? Come we to full points here; &c.] That is, shall we stop here, shall we have no further entertainment? Johnson.

8 Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif:] i. e. kiss thy fist. Mr. Pope will have it, that neif here is from nativa; i. e. a woman-slave that is born in one's house; and that Pistol would kiss Falstaff's domestick mistress, Doll Tear-sheet. Theobald.

Nief, neif, and naif, are certainly law-terms for a woman-slave. So, in Thoroton's Antiquities of Nottinghamshire: “Every naif or she-villain, that took a husband or committed fornication, paid marchet for redemption of her blood 5s. and 4d. Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582:

Me FAMULAM famuloque Heleno transmisit habendam.
“Me his nyefe to his servaunt Helenus full firmelye be-

troathed.” But I believe neif is used by Shakspeare for fist. It is still employed in that sense in the northern counties, and by Ben Jonson, in his Poetaster:

“ Reach me thy neif." Again, in The Witch of Edmonton, by Rowley, &c. 1658:

“Oh, sweet ningle, thy neif once again.” Steevens. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream: “Give me thy neif, Monsieur Mustard-Seed." Malone.

Galloway nags.?] That is, common hacknies. Johnson. like a shove-groat shilling :) This expression occurs in

9

1

Bard. Come, get you down stairs.
Pist. What! shall we have incision? shall we im-
brue?

[Snatching up his sword. Then death rock me asleep,2 abridge my doleful days! Why then, let grievous, ghastly, gaping wounds Untwine the sisters three! Come, Atropos, I say!3

Host. Here's goodly stuff toward!
Fal. Give me my rapier, boy.
Dol. I pray thee, Jack, I pray thee, do not draw.
Fal. Get you down stairs.

[Drawing, and driving Pist. out. Host. Here's a goodly tumult! I'll forswear keeping house, afore I 'll be in these tirrits and frights. So; murder, I warrant now. Alas, alas! put up your naked weapons, put up your naked weapons..

[Exeunt Pist, and BARD.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Every Man in his Humour: - made it run as smooth off the tongue as a shove-groat shilling. Again, in Humours Ordinary, by Samuel Rowlands, Satire iv:

“At shove-groat, venter-point, or crosse and pile.” I suppose it to have been a piece of polished metal made use of in the play of shovel-board. Steevens.

Slide-thrift, or shove-groat, is one of the games prohibited by statute 33 Henry VIII, c. 9. Blackstone.

2 Then death rock me asleep,] This is a fragment of an ancient song supposed to have been written by Anne Boleyn:

"death rock me on slepe,

Bring me on quiet rest,” &c. Steevens. In Arnold Gosbie's Ultimum Vale to the vaine World, an elegie written by himselfe in the Marshalsea, after his condemnation, for murthering Lord Brooke, 4to. 1591, are these lines:

O death, rock me asleepe! Father of heaven,
“ That hast sole power to pardon sinnes of men,
“Forgive the faults and follies of my youth.” Reed.

Come, Atropos, I say!] Perhaps Pistol alludes to a poem printed in A gorgious Gallery of gallant Inuentions, &c. 4to. 1578: is The Louer complayneth of his Ladie's Inconstancy,” to the tune of I lothe that I did loue:

“ I hate this lothsome life,

O Atropos draw nie,
“Untwist ye thred of mortall strife,

“ Send death, and let mee die." Steevens.

Come, Atropos,] It has been suggested that this is a name which Pistol gives to his sword; but surely he means nothing more than to call on one of the sisters three to aid him in the fray.

Malone. VOL. IX.

3

Dol. I pray thee, Jack, be quiet; the rascal is gone. Ah, you whoreson little valiant villain, you.

Host. Are you not hurt i' the groin ?4 methought, he made a shrewd thrust at your belly.

Re-enter BARDOLPH.
Fal. Have you turned him out of doors?

Bard. Yes, sir. The rascal's drunk: you have hurt him, sir, in the shoulder.

Fal. A rascal! to brave me!

Dol. Ah, you sweet little rogue, you ! Alas, poor ape, how thou sweat'st! Come, let me wipe thy face;-come on, you whoreson chops :- Ah, rogue! i' faith, I love thee. Thou art as valorous as Hector of Troy, worth five of Agamemnon, and ten times better than the nine worthies. Ah, villain!5

Fal. A rascally slave! I will toss the rogue in a blanket.

Dol. Do, if thou darest for thy heart: if thou dost, I'll canvas thee between a pair of sheets.

Enter Musick. Page. The musick is come, sir.

Fal. Let them play ;-Play, sirs.—Sit on my knee, Doll. A rascal bragging slave! the rogue fled from me like quicksilver.

Dol. I' faith, and thou followedst him like a church.

5

6

4 Are you not hurt i'the groin?] Falstaff had promised to marry Mrs. Quickly, who, on this occasion, appears to have had the widow Wadman's solicitudes about her. Steevens.

Ah, villain!! Thus the folio: the quarto reads—a vil. lain; which may be right. She may mean Pistol.

Since this note was written, I have observed that a is frequently printed in the quarto copies for ah: the reading of the fólio is therefore certainly right. Malone.

I'll canvas thee between a pair of sheets.] This phrase occurs in the 12th Mery leste of the Widow Edyth, 1573:

“ Hore, hore, by coks blood euen here,
“Sayd Cotes, and it were not for shame,

“ I should canvas thee, and make thee lame.” Steevens. Doll's meaning here is sufficiently clear. There is however an allusion which might easily escape notice, to the material of which coarse sheets were formerly made. So, in the MS. Account-book of Mr. Philip Henslow, which has been already quoted: “7 Maye, 1594. Lent goody Nalle upon a payre of canwas sheates, for vs." Malone.

« PreviousContinue »