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P. Hen, Hark, how hard he fetches breath: Search his pockets. [Poins searches.] What hast thou found ?
Poins. Nothing but papers, my lord.
Poins. Item, A capon, 2s. 2d.
P. Hen. O monstrous! but one half-pennyworth
had Peto done, (Dr. Johnson observes,) to be trusted with the
s - Sack, two gallons, 5s. 8d.] It appears from Peacham's
For this information I am indebted to the Reverend Dr. Stock,
Since this note was written, I have learnt from a passage in Florio's First Fruites, 1578, with which I was furnished by the late Reverend Mr. Bowle, that sack was at that time but sixpence a quart. “ Claret wine, red and white, is sold for fivepence the quart, and sacke for sixpence: muscadel and malmsey for eighit." Twenty years afterwards sack had probably risen to eight-pence or eight-pence halfpenny a quart, so that our author's computation is very exact. Malone.
of bread to this intolerable deal of sack !-What there is else, keep close : we'll read it at more advantage: there let him sleep till day. I'll to the court in the morning: we must all to the wars, and thy place shall be honourable. I'll procure this fat rogue a charge of foot; and, I know, his death will be a march of twelve-score 6. The money shall be paid back again with advantage. Be with me betimes in the morning; and so good morrow, Poins.
Poins. Good morrow, good my lord. [Exeunt.
O — I know, his death will be a march of twelve-score.] i. e. It will kill him to march so far as twelve-score yards.
JOHNSON. Ben Jonson uses the same expression in his Sejanus :
« That look'd for salutations twelve-score off." Again, in Westward Hoe, 1606 :
“I'll get me twelve-score off, and give aim." Again, in an ancient MS. play, entitled, The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
not one word near it;
STEEVENS. That is, twelve score feet; the Prince quibbles on the word foot, which signifies a measure, and the infantry of an army. I cannot conceive why Johnson supposes that he means twelve score yards ; he might as well extend it to twelve score miles.
M. Mason. Dr. Johnson supposed that “ twelve-score" meant twelve score yards, because that was the common phraseology of the time. When archers talked of sending a shaft fourteen score, they meant fourteen score yards. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ This boy will carry a letter twenty miles, as easily as a cannon will shoot point-blank twelve-score.” See also, King Henry IV. Part II. I have therefore great doubts whether the equivoque pointed out by Mr. Mason was intended. If not, Mr. Pope's interpretation (twelve-score foot] is wrong, and Dr. Johnson's right. MALONE.
“ Twelve-score" always means so many yards, and not feet. There is not the smallest reason to suppose that Shakspeare meant any quibble. Douce,
ACT III. SCENE I.
Bangor. A Room in the Archdeacon's House.
Enter HorsPUR, WORCESTER, MORTiner, and
GLENDOWER. Mort. These promises are fair, the parties sure, And our induction' full of prosperous hope.
Hot. Lord Mortimer,--and cousin Glendower,
No, here it is.
Hor. And you in hell, as often as he hears
GLEND. I cannot blame him : at my nativity, The front of heaven was full of firy shapes,
7 - induction--] That is, entrance, beginning. JOHNSON.
An induction was anciently something introductory to a play. Such is the business of the Tinker previous to the performance of The Taming of the Shrew. Shakspeare often uses the word, which his attendance on the theatres might have familiarized to his conception. Thus, in King Richard III. :
“Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous." Steevens. 8-at my nativity, &c.) Most of these prodigies appear to have been invented by Shakspeare. Holinshed says only: “Strange wonders happened at the nativity of this man ; for the same night he was born, all his father's horses in the stable were found to stand in blood up to their bellies." Steevens.
In the year 1402, a blazing star appeared, which the Welsh bards represented as portending good fortune to Owen Glendower. Shakspeare had probably read an account of this star in some Chronicle, and transferred its appearance to the time of Owen's nativity. Malone.
Of burning cressets'; and, at my birth,
Why, so it would have done?
born. Hor. And I say the earth was not of my mind, If you suppose, as fearing you it shook. GLEND. The heavens were all on fire, the earth
did tremble. Hor. O, then the earth shook to see the heavens
on fire, And not in fear of your nativity. Diseased nature 2 oftentimes breaks forth
9 Of burning CRESSETS;] A cresset was a great light set upon a beacon, light-house, or watch-tower : from the French word croisselte, a little cross, because the beacons had anciently crosses on the top of them. HanMER.
The same word occurs in Histriomastix, or the Player Whipt, 1610:
“ Come, Cressida, my cresset-light,
" Thy face doth shine both day and night.” In the reign of Elizabeth, Holinshed says : * The countie Palatine of Rhene was conveied by cresset-light, and torch-light, to Sir T. Greshani's house in Bishopsgate-street.” Again, in The Stately Moral of the Three Lords of London, 1590:
“ Watches in armour, triumphs, cresset-lights." The cresset-lights were lights fixed on a moveable frame or cross, like a turnstile, and were carried on poles, in processions. I have seen them represented in an ancient print from Van Velde. See also a wooden cut in vol. iv. p. 372. STEEVENS.
Why, so it would have done, &c.] A similar observation occurs in Cicero de Fato, cap. 3: “ Quid mirum igitur, ex speluncâ saxum in crura Icadii incidisse? Puto enim, etiàm si Icadius in speluncâ non fuisset, saxum tamen illud casurum fuisse."
STEEVENS. Diseased nature --] The poet has here taken, from the perverseness and contrariousness of Hotspur's temper, an opportunity of raising his character, by a very rational and philosophical confutation of superstitious error. Johnson,
In strange eruptions : oft the teeming earth
ving, Shakes the old beldame earth, and topples down
3 oft the teeming earth
Is with a kind of colick pinch'd and vex'd
Shakes the old beldame Earth,] So, in our author's Venus and Adonis :
“ As when the wind, imprison'd in the ground,
“ Which with cold terrours doth men's minds confound." The same thought is found in Spenser's Fairy Queen, b. ii. c. ix. :
" like as a boy'strous wind,
“ Confounds both land and seas, and skyes doth overcast." So also, in Drayton's Legend of Pierce Gaveston, 1594 :
“ As when within the soft and spongie soyle
MALONE. Beldame is not used here as a term of contempt, but in the sense of ancient mother. Belle-age, Fr. Drayton, in the 8th song of his Polyolbion, uses bel-sire in the same sense:
“As his great bel-sire Brute from Albion's heirs it won.” Again, in the 14th song :
" When he his long descent shall from his bel-sires bring.” Beau pere is French for father-in-law, but the word employed by Drayton seems to have no such meaning. Perhaps beldame originally meant a grandmother. So, in Shakspeare's Tarquin and Lucrece : “To show the beldame daughters of her daughter."
STEEVENS. VOL. XVI.