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but in villainy? wherein villainous, but in all things? wherein worthy, but in nothing ?
Fal. I would, your grace would take me with you* ; Whom means your grace ?
P. Hen. That villainous abominable misleader of youth, Falstaff, that old white-bearded Satan.
FAL. My lord, the man I know,
FAL. But to say, I know more harm in him than in myself, were to say more than I know. That he is old, (the more the pity,) his white hairs do witness it: but that he is (saving your reverence,) a whoremaster, that I utterly deny. If sack and sugar be a fault", God help the wicked! If to be
4 – take me with you ;] That is, go no faster than I can follow. Let me know your meaning. Johnson.
Lyly, in his Endymion, says : “Tush, tush, neighbours, take me with you.” FARMER.
The expression is so common in the old plays, that it is unnecessary to introduce any more quotations in support of it.
STEEVENS. 5 If sack and sugar be a fault,] Sack with sugar was a favourite liquor in Shakspeare's time. In a Letter describing Queen Eliza beth's entertainment at Killingworth castle, 1575, by R. L. [Langham] bl. 1. 12mo. ihe writer says, (p). 86,) “sipt I no more sack and sugar than I do malınzey, I should not blush so much a dayz az I doo.” And in another place, describing a minstrel, who, being somewhat irascible, had been offended at the compapy, he adds: “at last, by sum entreaty, and many fair woords, with sack and sugar, we sweeten him again." P. 52,
In an old MS. book of the chamberlain's account belonging to the city of Worcester, I also find the following article, which points out the origin of our word suck, [Fr. sec.] viz." - Anno Eliz, xxxiiij.  Item, For a gallon of clarett wyne, and seck, and a pound of sugar, geven to sir John Russell, iiij.s.”—This Sir John Russell, I believe, was their representative in parliament, or at least had prosecuted some suit for thein at the court.-- In the same book is another article, which illustrates the history of the stage at that time, viz. “ A. Eliz. xxxiij. Item, Bestowed upon the queen's trumpeters and plavers, iiij. Ib." Percy.
This liquor is likewise mentioned in Monsieur Thomas, by Beaumont and Fletcher, 1639, and in The Wild Goose Chase of the same authors:
old and merry be a sin, then many an old host that
A knocking heard. [Exeunt Hostess, FRANCIS, and BARDOLPH.
Re-enter BARDOLPH, running. BARD. O, my lord, my lord ; the sheriff, with a most monstrous watch, is at the door.
Fal. Out, you rogue ! play out the play: I have much to say in the behalf of that Falstaff.
Re-enter Hostess, hastily.
P. Hen, Heigh, heigh! the devil rides upon a fiddle-stick 6: What's the matter ?
Host. The sheriff and all the watch are at the door: they are come to search the house; Shall I let them in ?
Fal. Dost thou hear, Hal ? never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit : thou art essentially mad', without seeming so.
“ You shall find us at the tavern,
“ Lamenting in sack and sugar for your losses." Again, in Northward Hoe, 1607
“I use not to be drunk with sack and sugar.” Steevens. The folio, and some of the later quartos, give this speech to Falstaff. Boswell.
6 —a fiddle-stick :] I suppose this phrase is proverbial. It occurs in The Humorous Lieutenant of Beaumont and Fletcher :
“ - for certain, gentlemen,
P. Hen. And thou a natural coward, without in. stinct.
Fal. I deny your major: if you will deny the sheriff, so 8; if not, let him enter: if I become not a cart as well as another man, a plague on my bringing up! I hope, I shall as soon be strangled with a halter, as another.
P. Hen, Go, hide thee behind the arras ? ;-the
7- mad,] Old copies—made. Corrected by Mr. Rowe. I am not sure that I understand this speech. Perhaps Falstaff means to say,- We must now look to ourselves; never call that which is real danger, fictitious or imaginary. If you do, you are a madman, though you are not reckoned one. Should you admit the sheriff to enter here, you will deserve that appellation. The first words, however, “Never call a true piece of gold a counterfeit," may allude, not to real and imaginary danger, but to the subsequent words only, essential and seeming madness. MALONE.
8 I deny your MAJOR : if you will deny the sheriff, so;] Falstaff clearly intends a quibble between the principal officer of a corporation, now called a mayor, to whom the sheriff is generally next in rank, and one of the parts of a logical proposition.
Ritson. To render this supposition probable, it should be proved that the mayor of a corporation was called in Shakspeare's time ma-jor. That he was not called so at an earlier period, appears from several old books, among others from The History of Edward V. annexed to Hardynge's Chronicle, 1543, where we find the old spelling was maire :~"he beeyng at the haveryng at the bower, sent for the maire and aldermen of London.” Fol. 307, b.--If it shall be objected, that afterwards the pronunciation was changed to ma-jor, the following couplet in Jordan's Poems, (no date, but printed about 1661,) may serve to show that it is very unlikely that should have been the case, the pronunciation being at the Restoration the same as it is now: “
and the major “ Shall justle zealous Isaac from the chaire." Malone. Major is the Latin word, and occurs, with the requisite pronunciation, as a dissyllable, in King Henry VI. Part I. (folio edition): '“ Major, farewell ; thou dost but what thou may'st.”
Ritson. 9- hide thee behind the arras ;] The bulk of Falstaff made him not the fittest to be concealed behind the hangings, but every poet sacrifices something to the scenery. If Falstaff had not
rest walk up above. Now, my masters, for a true face, and good conscience.
Fal. Both which I have had : but their date is out, and therefore I'll hide me.
[Ereunt all but the Prince and Poins. P. Hen. Call in the sheriff.
Enter Sheriff and Carrier.
P. Hen. What men ?
been hidden, he could not have been found asleep, nor had his pockets searched. Johnson.
When arras was first brought into England, it was suspended on small hooks driven into the bare walls of houses and castles. But this practice was soon discontinued; for after the damp of the stone or brickwork had been found to rot the tapestry, it was fixed on frames of wood at such a distance from the wall, as prevented the latter from being injurious to the former. In old houses, therefore, long before the time of Shakspeare, there were large spaces left between the arras and the walls, sufficient to contain even one of Falstaffs bulk. Such are those which Fantome mentions in The Drummer. · Again, in The Bird in a Cage, 1633 :
" Does not the arras laugh at me? it shakes methinks.
" Kat. It cannot choose, there's one behind doth tickle it.” Again, in Northward Hoe, 1607 : “ — but softly as a gentleman courts a wench behind the arras." Again, in King John, Act IV. Sc. I. :
“ Heat me these irons hot, and look thou stand
“ Within the arras." In Much Ado About Nothing, Borachio says, “I whipped me behind the arras.” Polonius is killed behind the arras. See likewise Holinshed, vol. iii. p. 594. See also my note on the second scene of the first Act of King Richard Il. p. 22. Steevens.
So, in Brathwaite's Survey of Histories, 1614 : “ Pyrrhus, to terrifie Fabius, commanded his guard to place an elephant behind the arras.” Malone,
As fat as butter?
Sher. I will, my lord : There are two gentlemen
SHER. Good night, my noble lord.
[Exeunt Sheriff and Carrier. P. Hen. This oily rascal is known as well as Pauls. Go, call him forth.
Poins. Falstaff 4 !-fast asleep behind the arras, and snorting like a horse.
1- my Gracious lord ;] We have here, I believe, another playhouse intrusion. Strike out the word gracious, and the metre becomes perfect :
“ P. Hen. What men ?
STEEVENS. * As fat as butter.] I suppose our author, to complete the verse, originally wrote
* A man as fat as butter." Steevens. 3 The man, I do assure you, is not here ;] Every reader must regret that Shakspeare would not give himself the trouble to furnish Prince Henry with some more pardonable excuse ; without obliging him to have recourse to an absolute falsehood, and that too uttered under the sanction of so strong an assurance.
Steevens. ^ Poins. Falstaff! &c.] This speech, in the old copies, is given to Peto. It has been transferred to Poins on the suggestion of Dr. Johnson. Pelo is again printed elsewhere for Poins in this play, probably from a P. only being used in the MS. “What