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Exeunt.] It cannot but raise some indignation to find this horrid violation of faith passed over thus slightly by the poet, without any note of censure or detestation. JOHNSON.
Shakspeare, here, as in many other places, has merely followed the historians who related this perfidious act without animadversion, and who seem to have adopted the ungenerous sentiment of Chorobus:
-dolus an virtus, quis in hoste requirat ?"
But this is certainly no excuse; for it is the duty of a poet always to take the side of virtue. MALONE.
Line 410. and the dungeon your place,-a place deep enough; so shall you still be Colevile of the dale.] The sense of dale is included in deep; a dale is a deep place; a dungeon is a deep place; he that is in a dungeon may be therefore said to be in a dale. JOHNSON. Line 427. The heat is past,] That is, the violence of resentment, the eagerness of revenge. JOHNSON.
Line 488. -stand my good lord, 'pray, in your good report.] To stand in a report, referred to the reporter, is to persist; and Falstaff did not ask the prince to persist in his present opinion. JOHNS. Line 494. this same young sober-blooded boy doth not love me; nor a man cannot make him laugh;] Falstaff here speaks like a veteran in life. The young prince did not love him, and he despaired to gain his affection, for he could not make him laugh. Mer only become friends by community of pleasures. He who cannot be softened into gaiety, cannot easily be melted into kindness. JOHNSON.
Line 504. -sherris-sack-] The epithet sherry or sherris, when added to sack, merely denoted the particular part of Spain from whence it came. MALONE.
-forgetive,] Forgetive from forge; inventive,
Line 508. imaginative.
Line 539.-I have him already tempering &c.] A very pleasant allusion to the old use of sealing with soft wax. WARBURTON.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 585. -humorous as winter,] That is, changeable as the weather of a winter's day. Dryden says of Almanzor, that he is humorous as wind. . JOHNSON.
Line 580. congealed in the spring of day.] Alluding to the opinion of some philosophers, that the vapours being congealed in the air by cold, (which is most intense towards the morning,) and being afterwards rarified and let loose by the warmth of the sun, occasion those sudden and impetuous gusts of wind which are called flaws. WARBURTON.
Line 597. Mingled with venom of suggestion,] Though their blood be inflamed by the temptations to which youth is peculiarly subject. MALONE.
Line 600. rash gunpowder,] Rash is quick, violent, sudden. This representation of the prince is a natural picture of a young man, whose passions are yet too strong for his virtues. JOHNSON. Line 636. 'Tis seldom, when the bee &c.] As the bee, having once placed her comb in a carcase, stays by her honey, so he that has once taken pleasure in bad company, will continue to associate with those that have the art of pleasing him. JOHNSON.
Line 685. Hath wrought the mure, &c.] i. e. the wall. POPE. ·687. The people fear me ;] i. e. make me afraid. WARB. -689. Unfather'd heirs,] This is, equivocal births; animals that had no animal progenitors; productions not brought forth according to the stated laws of generation.
Line 706. Unless some dull and favourable hand—] Dull signifies melancholy, gentle, soothing. JOHNSON.
Line 734. -the ports of slumber—] i. e. gates.
is still used in some counties.
this golden rigol-] Rigol means a circle, and
Yield his engrossments-] His accumulations.
JOHNSON. -seal'd up my expectation:] Thou hast confirmed JOHNSON. Line 855. England shall double gild his treble guilt ;] Evidently the nonsense of some foolish player: for we must make a differ
830. my opinion.
ence between what Shakspeare might be supposed to have written off hand, and what he had corrected. These scenes are of the latter kind; therefore such lines are by no means to be esteemed his. But, except Mr. Pope, (who judiciously threw out this line,) not one of Shakspeare's editors seem ever to have had so reasonable and necessary a rule in their heads, when they set upon correcting this author. WARBURTON.
I know not why this commentator should speak with so much confidence what he cannot know, or determine so positively what so capricious a writer as our poet might either deliberately or wantonly produce. This line is, indeed, such as disgraces a few that precede and follow it, but it suits well enough with the daggers hid in thought, and whetted on thy stony heart; and the answer which the Prince makes, and which is applauded [by the King] for wis dom, is not of a strain much higher than this ejected line. JOHNS.
Line 875. Which my most true &c.] True is loyal.—This passage is obscure in the construction, though the general meaning is clear enough. The order is, this obedience which is taught this exterior bending by my duteous spirit; or, this obedience which teaches this exterior bending to my inwardly duteous spirit. I know not which is right. JOHNSON.
Line 890. in med'cine potable:] There has long prevailed an opinion that a solution of gold has great medicinal virtues, and that the incorruptibility of gold might be communicated to the body impregnated with it. Some have pretended to make potable gold, among other frauds practised on credulity. JOHNSON.
Line 924. all these bold fears,] Fear is here used in the active sense, for that which causes fear. JOHNSON.
for what in me was purchas'd,] Purchased seems to be here used in its legal sense, acquired by a man's own act (perquisitio) as opposed to an acquisition by descent. MALONE. Line 931. successively.] By order of succession. Every usurper snatches a claim of hereditary right as soon as he can.
Line 942. To lead out many to the Holy Land ;] The sense is: Of those who assisted my usurpation, some I have cut off, and many I intended to lead abroad. This journey to the Holy Land, of
which the King very frequently revives the mention, had two motives, religion and policy. He durst not wear the ill-gotten crown without expiation, but in the act of expiation he contrives to make his wickedness successful. JOHNSON.
Line 951. How I came by the crown, O God, forgive!] This is a true picture of a mind divided between heaven and earth. He prays for the prosperity of guilt while he deprecates its punishJOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Line 1. By cock and pye,] Cock is only a corruption of the Sacred Name, as appears from many passages in the old interJudes, Gammer Gurton's Needle, &c. viz. Cocks-bones, cocks-wounds, by cock's-mother, and some others.
The pie is a table or rule in the old Roman offices, showing, in a technical way, how to find out the service which is to be read upon each day. STEEVENS.
Line 4. I will not excuse you; &c.] The sterility of Justice Shallow's wit is admirably described, in thus making him, by one of the finest strokes of nature, so often vary his phrase, to express one and the same thing, and that the commonest. WARB.
Line 12. those precepts cannot be served:] Precept is a justice's warrant. To the offices which Falstaff gives Davy in the following scene, may be added that of justice's clerk. Davy has almost as many employments as Scrub in The Stratagem. JOHNS.
Line 30. -A friend i'the court &c.] "A friend in court is worth a penny in purse," is one of Camden's proverbial sentences. See his Remaines, 4to. 1605. MALONE.
Line 66. —bearded hermit's-staves-] He had before called him the starved justice. His want of flesh is a standing jest.
-two actions,] There is something humorous in making a spendthrift compute time by the operation of an action for debt. JOHNSON.
Line 87. fellow that never had the ache-] That is, a young fellow, one whose disposition to merriment time and pain have not yet impaired.
ACT V. SCENE II.
*Line 142. A ragged and forestall'd remission.] Ragged has no sense here. We should read:
A rated and forestall'd remission.
i. e. a remission that must be sought for, and bought with suppli WARBURTON.
Different minds have different perplexities. I am more puzzled with forestall'd than with ragged; for ragged, in our author's licentious diction, may easily signify beggarly, mean, base, igno minious; but forestall'd I know not how to apply to remission in any sense primitive or figurative. I should be glad of another. word, but cannot find it. Perhaps, by forestall'd remission, he may mean a pardon begged by a voluntary confession of offence, and anticipation of the charge. JOHNSON. Line 152. -not the Turkish court;] Not the court where the prince that mounts the throne puts his brothers to death.
Line 153. Not Amurath an Amurath succeeds,
But Harry Harry:] Amurath the Third (the sixth emperor of the Turks) died on January the 18th, 1595-6. The people being generally disaffected to Mahomet, his eldest son, and inclined to Amurath, one of his younger children, the em peror's death was concealed for ten days by the Janizaries, till Mahomet came from Amasia to Constantinople. On his arrival he was saluted emperor, by the great Bassas, and others his favourers; "which done, (says Knolles,) he presently after caused. all his brethren to be invited to a solemn feast in the court; whereunto they, yet ignorant of their father's death, came chearfully, as men fearing no harm: but, being come, were there all most miserably strangled." It is highly probable that Shakspeare here alludes to this transaction; which was pointed out to me by Dr. Farmer.
This circumstance, therefore, may fix the date of this play subsequently to the beginning of the year 1596; and perhaps it was written while this fact was yet recent. MALONE.
Line 194. To trip the course of law,] To defeat the process of justice; a metaphor taken from the act of tripping a runner. JOHNS.