« PreviousContinue »
(Whose soldier now, under whose blessed cross
West. My liege, this haste was hot in question,
K. Hen. It seems then, that the tidings of this broil Brake off our business for the Holy Land.
West. This, match'd with other, did, my gracious lord; For more uneven and unwelcome news Came from the north, and thus it did import. On Holy-rood day, the gallant Hotspur there, Young Harry Percy, and brave Archibald,5
c Therefore we meet not now:] i. e. Not on that account do we now meet we are not now assembled, to acquaint you with our intended expedition.MALONE. erpedience.] i. e. Erpedition.
limits-] i. e. Estimates. f Young Harry Percy,] “ This Harry Percy was surnamed, for his often pricking, Harry Hotspur, as one that seldom times rested, if there were anie service to be done abroad.”-Holinshed's History of Scotland, p. 240.
Archibald,] Archibald Douglas, Earl Douglas.
That ever-valiant and approved Scot,
K. Hen. Here is a dear and true-industrious friend,
West. In faith,
K. Hen. Yea, there thou mak'st me sad, and mak'st me In envy that my lord Northumberland
[sin Should be the father of so blest a son : A son who is the theme of honour's tongue; Amongst a grove, the very straightest plant; Who is sweet fortune's minion, and her pride : Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, See riot and dishonour stain the brow Of my young Harry. O, that it could be prov’d, That some night tripping fairy had exchang'd In cradle clothes our children where they lay, And call’d mine--Percy, his-Plantagenet!
b. Balk'd-] i. e. Piled together in a heap.
and eldest son To beaten Douglas;] He was son of the duke of Albany, regent of Scotland. The author was led into this mistakė, by the omission of a comma in the early edition of Holinshed.-STEEVENS.
Then would I have his Harry, and be mine.
West. This is his uncle's teaching, this is Worcester,
K. Hen. But I have sent for him to answer this :
Another Room in the Palace."
Enter Henry Prince of Wales, and FalstAFF. Fal. Now, Hal, what time of day is it, lad ? j the prisoners,] Percy had an exclusive right to these prisoners, except the earl of Fife. By the law of arms, every man who had taken any captive, whose redemption did not exceed ten thousand crowns, had him clearly for himself, either to acquit or ransom, at his pleasure. Percy could not refuse the earl of Fife to the king, for being a prince of the blood royal, (son of the duke of Albany, brother to King Robert III.) Henry might justly claim him by his acknowledged military prerogative. Tollet and ŠTEEVENS.
k Malevolent to you in all aspects;] An astrological allusion, Worcester is represented as a malignant star that influenced the conduct of Hotspur.HENLEY.
! Which makes him prune himself,] The metaphor is taken from a cock, who in his pride prunes himself ; that is, pieks off the loose feathers to smooth the rest. To prune and to plume, spoken of a bird, is the same.-Johnson.
m Than out of anger can be uttered.] That is, “more is to be said than anger will suffer me to say: more than can issue from a mind disturbed like mine." Johnson.
Another room in the Palace.] The editors do not appear to have attributed the subsequent dialogue to an appropriate situation. Falstaff seems to have been unknown to the court, and a mere tavern companion of the prince's. The conversation was most probably imagined to take place in the street. It must be recollected, that in the old copies no place of action is giver.
P. Hen. Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou would’st truly know." What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day ? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame colour'd taffata; I see no reason, why thou should’st be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Fal. Indeed, you come near me, now, Hal : for we, that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars: and not by Phoebus,--he, that wand'ring knight so fair. And, I pray thee, sweet wag, when thou art king,—as God save thy grace, (majesty, I should say: for grace, thou wilt have none,)
P. Hen. What! none?
Fal. No, by my troth ; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P. Hen. Well, how then ? come, roundly, roundly.
Fal. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us, that are squires of the night's body,' be called thieves of the day's beauty; let us be—Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon : And let men say, we be men of good government; being governed as the sea is, by our. noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we-steal.
P. Hen. Thou say’st well; and it holds well too : for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea; being governed as the sea is, by the moon. As, for proof, now : A purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night, and most dissolutely
thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou would'st truly know.) Falstaff, as a minion of the moon, wishes to know how near it is to night, and therefore mis-expresses his purpose, by asking the time of the day.
wand'ring knight so fair.] These are most probably the words of some forgotten ballad. -STEEVENS.
squires of the night's body,) i. e. Constant attendants on the night,a squire of dames, which appears to be the idea in Falstaff's mind, was one devoted to the fair sex. Thieves of the day's beauty. Of is here used for by; the meaning is, “let not us, who are votaries of the night, be called thieves by the day.
spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearing_lay by ;9 and spent with crying-bring in :' now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
Fal. By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench?
P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance ?
Fal. How now, how now, mad wag? what, in thy quips, and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?
P. Hen. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?
Fal. Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning, many a time and oft. · P. Hen. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?
Fal. No; I'll give thee thy due, thou hast paid all there.
P. Hen. Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch ; and, where it would not, I have used my credit. Fal. Yea, and so used it, that were it not here
not here apparent that thou art heir apparent,—But, I pr’ythee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king ? and resolution thus fobbed as it is, with the rusty-curb of old father antick the law ? Do not thou, when thou art king, hang a thief. P. Hen. No; thou shalt.
got with swearing-lay by ;] i. e. Swearing the passengers they robbed, lay by your arms; or rather, lay by was a phrase that then signified stund still, addressed to those who were preparing to rush forward.—WAR
and spent with crying--bring in :] i. e. More wine.
my old lad of the castle.] There is a tradition preserved by Fuller in his Worthies, folio, 1662, p. 258, that the first part of Falstaff originally bore the name of Old Castle. This appellation therefore of Prince Henry had a double property, as a quibble upon his name, and also from characters of his description being so called in the cant language of Shakspeare's day.Gabriel Harvey tells us of “ Old lads of the Castle with their rapping babble.”
+ And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?] To understand the propriety of the prince's answer, it must be remarked that the sheriff's officers were formerly clad in buff. So that when Falstaff asks, whether his hostess is not a sweet wench, the prince asks in return whether it will not be a sweet thing to go to prison by running in debt to this sweet wench.-Johnson.