« PreviousContinue »
I will have you as soundly swinged for this, you blue. bottle-rogue! you filthy famished correctioner! if you be not swinged, I 'll forswear half-kirtles.?
That Doll Tear-sheet, however, may not be suspected of acquaintance with the censers mentioned in Scripture, and confined to sacred use, it should be remarked, that the consummate slut. tery of ancient houses rendered censers or fire-pans, in which coarse perfumes were burnt, most necessary utensils. In Much Ado About Nothing, Act I, sc. iii, Borachio says he had been “entertained for a perfumer to smoke a musty room at Leonato's:" and in a Letter from the Lords of the Council, in the reign of King Edward VI, (see Lodge's Illustrations of British History, &c. Vol. I, p. 141,) we are told that Lord Paget's house was so small, that " after one month it would wax unsavery for hym to contynue in,” &c. Again, from the Correspondence of the Earl of Shrews. bury with Lord Burleigh, during the confinement of Mary Queen of Scots at Sheffield-castle, in 1572, (see Vol. II, p. 68,) we learn that her Majesty was to be removed for five or six days " to klense her chambar, being kept very unklenly."
Again, in a Memoir written by Anne, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery, 1603: “ — we all went to Tibbals to see the Kinge, who used my mother and my aunt very gra. tiouslie; but we all saw a great chaunge between the fashion of the Court as it was now, and of yt in ye Queene's, for we were all lowzy by sittinge in S. Thomas Erskin's chamber." See Mr. Se. ward's Anecdotes, &c. Vol. IV, p. 305. Steevens :
blue-bottle-rogue!! A name, I suppose, given to the beadle, from the colour of his livery. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is right with respect to the livery, but the allusion seems to be to the great flesh fly, commonly called a blue-bottle. Farmer. The same allusion is in Northward Hoe, 1607 :
“Now blue-bottle! what flutter you for, sea-pie ?" The serving men were anciently habited in blue, and this is spoken on the entry of one of them. It was natural for Doll to have an aversion to the colour, as a blue gown was the dress in which a strumpet did penance. So, in The Northern Lass, 1633: 6 - let all the good you intended me be a lockram coif, a blew gown, a wheel, and a clean whip.” Mr. Malone confirms Dr. Johnson's remark on the dress of the beadle, by the following quotation from Michaelmas Term, by Middleton, 1607: “And to be free from the interruption of blue beadles and other bawdy officers, he most politickly lodges her in a constable's house."
Steevens. half-kirtles.] Probably the dress of the prostitutes of that time. Johnson.
A half kirtle was perhaps the same kind of thing as we call at present a short-gown, or a bed-gown. There is a proverbial expression now in use which may serve to confirm it. When a per
1 Bead. Come, come, you she knight-errant; come.
Host. O, that right should thus overcome might! Well; of sufferance comes ease.
Dol. Come, you rogue, come; bring me to a justice.
son is loosely dressed, the vulgar say-Such a one looks like a
in a bed-gown. See Westward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607: “- - forty shillings I lent her to redeem two half-silk kirtles.” Steevens.
The dress of the courtezans of the time confirms Mr. Steevens's observation. So, in Michaelmas Term, by Middleton, 1607: “Dost dream of virginity now? remember a loose-bodied gown, wench, and let it go.” Again, in Skialetheia, or a Shadow of Truth in certain Epigrammes and Satires, 1598:
“ To women's loose gowns suiting her loose rhimes.” Yet, from the description of a kirtle already given, (see p. 79, n. 1,) a half-kirtle should seem to be a short cloak, rather than a short gown. Perhaps such a cloak, without sleeves, was here meant. Malone.
8 Thou atomy thou!') Atomy for Anatomy. Atomy or otamy is sometimes used by the ancient writers where no blunder or depravation is designed. So, in Look about
“For thee, for thee, thou art otamie of honour,
Steevens. The preceding expression seems to confirm Mr. Steevens's explanation. But whether the otamies of Surgeons' Hall were known at this time, may perhaps be questioned. Atomy is perhaps here the motes or atoms in the sun beams, as the poet himself calls them, speaking of Queen Mab's chariot:
“ Drawn with a team of little atomies." Romeo and Juliet. And otamie of honour, may very easily be so understood. Whalley.
Shakspeare himself furnishes us with a proof that the word, in his time, bore the sense which we now frequently affix to it. having employed it in The Comedy of Errors precisely with the signification in which the Hostess here uses atomy:
They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean-fac'd villain,
“ A living dead man.” Again, in King John:
“ And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy.” Malone.
- you rascal!] In the language of the forest, lean deer were called rascal deer. See p. 60, n. 3. Steevens.
A public Place near Westminster-Abbey.
Enter Two Grooms, strewing Rushes.
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 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 SHAL.) But 'tis no matter; this poor show doth better: this doth infer the zeal I had to see him.
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 al. lusions 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.
1 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 pave. ment of a 'street, or on a platform. Steevens.
Shal. It doth so.
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,3 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.“
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.
Fohnson. 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 K. Henry IV, Part I:
" Stain'd with the variation of each soil,
cr '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 character adds, with some humour, and all in every part: which, both together, make up 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:
“Some say, she's all in all, and all in every part.” Again, in Drayton's Mortimeriados, 4to. 1596 :
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
Fal. God save thy grace, king Hal!5 my royal Hal!
Pist. The heavens thee guard and keep, most royal imp of fame !6
Fal. God save thee, my sweet boy!
“ 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 before us.
Steevens. 5 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.
6 most royal imp of fame.'] The word imp is perpetually used by Ulpian Fulwell, and other ancient writers, for progeny:
“ 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.”
Imp-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 Æol's rage hath to confusion brought,
“Unprofitable stock, I serve for nought.” Steevens.