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FAL. Do so, good mine host.
Host. I have spoke ; let him follow : Let me see thee froth, and lime? : I am at a word; follow.
[Erit Host. Fal. Bardolph, follow him ; a tapster is a good trade: An old cloak makes a new jerkin ; a withered servingman, a fresh tapster 3: Go, adieu..
Bard. It is a life that I have desired; I will thrive.
[Exit BARD. Pist. O base Gongarian wight * ! wilt thou the spigot wield ?
Tales of Chaucer, in 5 vols. 8vo. 1775, observes, that this phrase is given to the host in the Pardonere's Prologue:
“ Said I not wel? I cannot speke in terme :” v. 12,246. and adds, “it may be sufficient with the other circumstances of general resemblance, to make us believe that Shakspeare, when he drew that character, had not forgotten his Chaucer." The same gentleman has since informed me, that the passage is not found in any of the ancient printed editions, but only in the MSS;
STEEVENS. I imagine this phrase must have reached our author in some other way; for I suspect he did not devote much time to the perusal of old MSS. "Malone.
? — Let me see thee FROTH, and LIME :) Thus the quarto; the folio reads—"and live." This passage had passed through all the editions without suspicion of being corrupted; but the reading of the old quartos of 1602 and 1619, “Let me see thee froth and lime," I take to be the true one. The Host calls for an immediate specimen of Bardolph's abilities as a tapster; and frothing beer and liming sack were tricks practised in the time of Shakspeare. The first was done by putting soap into the bottom of the tankard when they drew the beer; the other, by mixing lime with the sack (i. e. sherry) to make it sparkle in the glass. Froth and live is sense, but a little forced; and to make it so we must suppose the Host could guess by his dexterity in frothing a pot to make it appear fuller than it was, how he would afterwards succeed in the world. Falstaff himself complains of limed sack. Steevens.
3 — a withered servingman, a fresh tapster :) This is not improbably a parody on the old proverb—"A broken apothecary, a new doctor." See Ray's Proverbs, 3d edit. p. 2. Steevens.
4 O base GONGARIAN wight! &c.] This is a parody on a line taken from one of the old bombast plays, beginning, “ () base Gongarian, wilt thou the distaff wield ?"
Nym. He was gotten in drink: Is not the humour conceited ? His mind is not heroick, and there's the humour of it'. f
FAL. I am glad, I am so acquit of this tinderbox; his thefts were too open: his filching was like an unskilful singer, he kept not time.
Nym. The good humour is, to steal at a minute's rest.
I had marked the passage down, but forgot to note the play. The folio reads-Hungarian.
Hungarian is likewise a cant term. So, in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, 1608, the merry Host says, “ I have knights and colonels in my house, and must tend the Hungarians.” · Again :
“ Come ye Hungarian pilchers.” Again, in Westward Hoe, 1607 :
“ Play, you louzy Hungarians." Again, in News from Hell, brought by the Devil's Carrier, by Thomas Decker, 1606 : “ — the leane-jaw'd Hungarian would not lay out a penny pot of sack for himself.". Steevens.
Hungarian signified a hungry, starved fellow. So, in Hall's Satire, b. iv. sat. 2:
“So sharp and meagre that who should them see
MALONE. The Hungarians, when infidels, over-ran Germany and France, and would have invaded England, if they could have come to it. See Stowe, in the year 930, and Holinshed's Invasions of Ireland, p. 56. Hence their name might become a proverb of baseness. Stowe's Chronicle, in the year 1492, and Leland's Collectanea, vol. i. p. 610, spell it Hongarian (which might be misprinted Gongarian;) and this is right according to their own etymology. Hongyars, i. e. domus suæ strenui defensores. Tollet
The word is Gongarian in the first edition, and should be continued, the better to fix the allusion. FARMER.
5- humour of it.] This speech is partly taken from the corrected copy, and partly from the slight sketch in 1602. I mention it, that those who do not find it in either of the common old editions, may not suspect it to be spurious. STEEVENS.
The folio contains the first clause of the sentence; the quarto, the second. Boswell. 6 — at a minute's rest.] Our author probably wrote:
“ at a minim's rest." LANGTON. This conjecture seems confirmed by a passage in Romeo and
Pist. Convey, the wise it call?: Steal ! foh; a fico for the phrase 8! · FAL. Well, sirs, I am almost out at heels.
Pist. Why then, let kibes ensue.
FAL. There is no remedy ; I must coney-catch; I must shift.
Pist. Young ravens must have food'.
Juliet : “ - rests his minim," &c. It may, however, mean, that, like a skilful harquebuzier, he takes a good aim, though he has rested his piece for a minute only. . So, in Daniel's Civil Wars, &c. b. vi. :
“ To set up's rest to venture now for all." Steevens. A minim was anciently, as the term imports, the shortest note in musick. Its measure was afterwards, as it is now, as long as while two may be moderately counted. In Romeo and Juliet, Act II. Sc. IV. Mercutio says of Tibalt, that in fighting he “rests his minim, one, two, and the third in your bosom." A minute contains sixty seconds, and is a long time for an action supposed to be instantaneous. Nym means to say, that the perfection of stealing is to do it in the shortest time possible. Sir J. HAWKINS,
“ 'Tis true (says Nym) Bardolph did not keep time; did not steal at the critical and exact season, when he would probably be least observed. The true method is, to steal just at the instant, when watchfulness is off its guard, and reposes but for a moment."
The reading proposed by Mr. Langton certainly corresponds more exactly with the preceding speech ; but Shakspeare scarcely ever pursues his metaphors far. Malone.
7 Convey, the wise it call :] So, in the old morality of Hycke Scorner, bl. 1. no date :
“ Syr, the horesons could not convaye clene;
STEEVENS. 18 — a Fico for the phrase!) i. e. a fig for it. Pistol uses the saine phraseology in King Henry V.:
“ Die and be damn'd; and fico for thy friendship.” So, in The Widow by Fletcher, Jonson, and Middleton :
“Oh! and my fig cheese! “ The fig of everlasting obloquy
“ Go with him, if he have eat it." See Mr. Douce's observations on Shakspeare for a full explanation and history of this phrase. Boswell.
9 Young ravens must have food.] An adage. See Ray's Próverbs. STEEVENS.
FAL. Which of you know Ford of this town?
FAL. My honest lads, I will tell you what I am about.
Pist. Two yards, and more.
Fal. No quips now, Pistol; Indeed I am in the waist two yards about: but I am now about no waste'; I am about thrift. Briefly, I do mean to make love to Ford's wife ; I spy entertainment in her; she discourses, she carves ?, she gives the leer of invitation : I can construe the action of her familiar style; and the hardest voice of her behaviour, to be English'd rightly, is, I am sir John Falstaff's.
Pist. He hath studied her well, and translated her well '; out of honesty into English.
i - about no waste;] I find the same play on words in Heywood's Epigrams, 1562:
“ Where am I least, husband ? quoth he, in the waist ;
“ For all is waste in you, as far as I see."
“He's a great man indeed;
“ Something given to the wast, for he lives within no reasonable compass.” Steevens.
2- she Carves,] It should be remembered, that anciently the young of both sexes were instructed in carving, as a necessary accomplishment. In 1508, Wynkyn de Worde published “A Boke of Kerving." So, in Love's Labour's Lost, Biron says of Boyet, the French courtier : “ — He can carve too, and lisp." STEEVENS.
It seems to have been considered as a mark of kindness when a lady carved to a gentleman. So, in Vittoria Corombona: “Your husband is wondrous discontented.- Vit. I did nothing to displease him; I carved to him at supper time." Boswell.
3 studied her well, and TRANSLATED her well ;] Thus the first quarto. The folio 1623 reads—“studied her will, and transtated her will.” Mr. Malone observes, that there is a similar corruption in the folio copy of King Lear. In the quarto 1608, signat. B, we find—“ since what I well intend ;" instead of which the folio exhibits—“since what I will intend," &c.
Translation is not used in its common acceptation, but means to explain, as one language is explained by another. So, in Hamlet :
Nym. The anchor is deep * : Will that humour pass ?
Fal. Now, the report goes, she has all the rule of her husband's purse; she hath legions of angels 5. .
Pist. As many devils entertain; and, To her, boy, say I.
“ these profound heaves
“ You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them." Again, in Troilus and Cressida :
“Did in great Ilion thus translate him to me.” Steevens. 4 The ANCHOR is deep :] I see not what relation the anchor has to translation. Perhaps we may read- the author is deep; or perhaps the line is out of its place, and should be inserted lower, after Falstaff has said :
“ Sail like my pinnace to those golden shores." It may be observed, that in the hands of that time anchor and author could hardly be distinguished. Johnson.
"The anchor is deep," may mean-his hopes are well founded. So, in The Knight of the Burning Pestle, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
“ Now my latest hope,
“And let it hold !” Again, as Mr. M. Mason observes, in Fletcher's Woman-Hater:
“ Farewell, my hopes; my anchor now is broken." In the year 1558 a ballad, intitled “Hold the ancer fast," is entered on the books of the Stationers' Company. STEEVENS.
Dr. Johnson very acutely proposes “the author is deep." He reads with the first copy," he hath studied her well."-And from this equivocal word, Nym catches the idea of deepness. But it is almost impossible to ascertain the diction of this whimsical character: and I meet with a phrase in Fenner's Comptor's Commonwealth, 1617, which may perhaps support the old reading : “ Master Decker's Bellman of London, hath set forth the vices of the time so lively, that it is impossible the anchor of any other man's braine could sound the sea of a more deepe and dreadful mischeefe.” FARMER.
Nym, I believe, only means to say, the scheme for debauching Ford's wife is deep;-well laid. MALONE.
s she hath Legions of angels.] Thus the old quarto. The folio reads—" he hath a legend of angels." STEevens.
• As many devils ENTERTAIN;] i. e. do you retain in your service as many devils as she has angels. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
“ Sweet lady, entertain him for your servant.”.