Page images

K. Hen. No, I am a Welshman.
Pist. Knowest thou Fluellen ?
K. Hen. Yes.

Pist. Tell him, I'll knock his leek about his pate,
Upon Saint Davy's day.

K. Hen. Do not you wear your dagger in your cap that day, lest he knock that about yours.

Pist. Art thou his friend ?
K. Hen. And his kinsman too.
Pist. The figo for thee then!
K. Hen. I thank you: God be with you!
Pist. My name is Pistol called.

K. Hen. It sorts well with your fierceness,



Enter FLUELLEN and GOWER, severally.
Gow. Captain Fluellen!

Flu. So! in the name of Cheshu Christ, speak lower'. It is the greatest admiration in the uni

9 It sorts ~] i. e. it agrees. So, in Chapman's version of the 17th book of the Odyssey : “ His faire long lance well sorting with his hand."

STEEVENS. '- speak Lower.] The earliest of the quartos reads “speak lewer,” which in that of 1608 is made lower. The alterations made in the several quartos, and in all the folios that succeeded the first, by the various printers or correctors through whose hands they passed, carry with them no authority whatsoever; yet here the correction happens, I think, to be right. The editors of the folio read—"speak fewer." I have no doubt that in their MS. (for this play they evidently printed from a MS. which was not the case in some others,) the word by the carelessness of the transcriber was lewer, (as in that copy from which the quarto was printed,) and that, in order to obtain some sense, they changed this to fewer. Fluellen could not, with any propriety, call on Gower to speak fewer, he not having uttered a word except “ Captain Fluellen!” Meeting Fluellen late at night, and not being certain who he was, he merely pronounced his name. Having addressed him in too high a key, the Welshman reprimands him ; and Gower justifies himself by saying that the enemy spoke so loud, that the English could hear them all


or pibbi

ories of the warrant

[merged small][ocr errors]

versal 'orld, when the true and auncient prerogatifes and laws of the wars is not kept: if you would take the pains but to examine the wars of Pompey the Great, you shall find, I warrant you, that there is no tiddle taddle, or pibble pabble, in Pompey's camp; I warrant you, you shall find the ceremonies of the wars, and the cares of it, and the forms of it, and the sobriety of it, and the modesty of it, to be otherwise.

Gow. Why, the enemy is loud; you heard him all night.

Flu. If the enemy is an ass and a fool, and a prating coxcomb, is it meet, think you, that we should also, look you, be an ass, and a fool, and a prating coxcomb; in your own conscience now? Gow. I will speak lower. Flv. I pray you, and beseech you, that you will.

Ereunt GOWER and FLUELLEN, K. Hen. Though it appear a little out of fashion, There is much care and valour in this Welshman.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

night. But what he says as he is going out, puts, I think, the emendation that I have adopted beyond a doubt, I will do as you desire ; “ I will speak lower."

Shakspeare has here as usual followed Holinshed : “ Order was taken by commandement from the king, after the army was first set in battayle array, that no noise or clamour should be made in the hoste.MALONE.

To " speak lower " is the more familiar reading; but to “speak few," is a provincial phrase still in use among the vulgar in some counties; signifying, to speak in a calm, small voice, and consequently has the same meaning as low. In Sussex I heard one female servant say to another “ Speak fewer, or my mistress will hear you." STEEVENS.

2 - I 'warrant you, &c.] Amongst the laws and ordinances militarie set down by Robert Earl of Leicester in the Low Countries, printed at Leyden, 1586, one is, that “ No man shall make anie outcrie or noise in any watch, ward, ambush, or apie other place where silence is requisite, and necessarie, upon paine of losse of life or limb at the general's discretion." Reed.

Enter Bates, Court, and WILLIAMS. Court. Brother John Bates, is not that the morning which breaks yonder ?

BATES. I think it be: but we have no great cause to desire the approach of day.

Will. We see yonder the beginning of the day, but, I think, we shall never see the end of it. Who goes there?

K. HEN. A friend.
Wili. Under what captain serve you?

K. Hen. Under sir Thomas Erpingham. Will. A good old commander, and a most kind gentleman : I pray you, what thinks he of our estate ?

K. Hen. Even as men wrecked upon a sand, that look to be washed off the next tide.

Bares. He hath not told his thought to the king?

K. Hen, No; nor it is not meet he should. For, though I speak it to you, I think the king is but a man, as I am: the violet smells to him, as it doth to me; the element shows to him, as it doth to me; all his senses have but human conditions: his ceremonies laid by, in his nakedness he appears but a man; and though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet, when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing4; therefore when he sees reason of fears,

3 -- conditions :] Are qualities. The meaning is, that objects are represented by his senses to him, as to other men by theirs. What is danger to another is danger likewise to him; and, when he feels fear, it is like the fear of meaner mortals.

Johnson. 4 — though his affections are higher mounted than ours, yet, when they stoop, they stoop with the like wing ;] This passage alludes to the ancient sport of falconry. When the hawk, after soaring aloft, or mounting high, descended in its flight, it was said to stoop. So, in an old song on falconry in my MS. of old songs, P. 480;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as we do, his fears, out of doubt, be of the same relish as ours are: Yet, in reason, no man should possess him with any appearance of fear, lest he, by showing it, should dishearten his army.

Bates. He may show what outward courage he will: but, I believe, as cold a night as ’tis, he could wish himself in the Thames up to the neck; and so I would he were, and I by him, at all adventures, so we were quit here.

K. Hen. By my troth, I will speak my conscience of the king; I think, he would not wish himself any where but where he is.

BATES. Then 'would he were here alone; so should he be sure to be ransomed, and a many poor men's lives saved.

K. Hen. I dare say, you love him not so ill, to wish him here alone; howsoever you speak this, to feel other men's minds: Methinks, I could not die any where so contented, as in the king's company; his cause being just, and his quarrel honourables,

Will. That's more than we know.

BATES. Ay, or more than we should seek after ; for we know enough, if we know we are the king's



“ She flieth at one
“ Her marke jumpe upon,

“ And mounteth the welkin cleare ;
« Then right she stoopes,
“ When the falkner he whoopes,

“ Triumphing in her chaunticleare.” Percy.
5 — his cause being just, and his QUARREL honourable.) So,
Holinshed : “ — calling his capitaines and his souldiers aboute
him, he (Henry V.] made to them a right harty oration, requir-
ing them to play the men, that they might obtaine a glorious
victorie, as there was good hope they should, if they would re-
member the just cause and quarrel for the whiche they fought.”

Malone. 6 Bates. Ay, or more, &c.] This sentiment does not correspond with what Bates has just before said. The speech, I believe, should be given to Court. See p. 397, n. 4. MALONE.

subjects; if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.

Will. But, if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make ; when all those legs, and arms, and heads, chopped off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day ?, and cry all-We died at such a place; some, swearing ; some, crying for a surgeon; some, upon their wives left poor behind them ; soine, upon the debts they owe; some, upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well, that die in battle ; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument ? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey, were against all proportion of subjection.

K. Hen. So, if a son, that is by his father sent about merchandise, do sinfully miscarry upon the sea, the imputation of his wickedness, by your rule, should be imposed upon his father that sent him: or if a servant, under his master's command, transporting a sum of money, be assailed by robbers, and die in many irreconciled iniquities, you may call the business of the master the author of the servant's damnation :-But this is not so: the king is not bound to answer the particular endings of his soldiers, the father of his son, nor the master of his servant ; for they purpose not their death, when they purpose their services. Besides, there is no king, be his cause never so spotless, if it come to

7 – the latter day,] i.e. the last day, the day of judgment. Our author has, in other instances, used the comparative for the superlative. Steevens.

8 — their children RAWLY left.] That is, without preparation, hastily, suddenly. What is not matured is raw. So, in Macbeth : " Why in this rawness left he wife and children?"

JOHNSON, Rawly left, is left young and helpless. Ritson,

« PreviousContinue »