« PreviousContinue »
Being free from vainness and self-glorious pride;
: 7 Giving full trophy,] Transferring all the honours of conquest, all, trophies, tokens, and shows, from himself to God.
JOHNSON. 8 — likelihood,] Likelihood for similitude. WARBURTON.
The later editors, in hope of mending the measure of this line, have injured the sense. The folio reads as I have printed; but all the books, since revisal became fashionable, and editors have been more diligent to display themselves than to illustrate their author, have given the line thus :
. “As by a low, but loving likelihood.”
Thus they have destroyed the praise which the poet designed for Essex; for who would think himself honoured by the epithet low? The poet, desirous to celebrate that great man, whose popularity was then his boast, and afterwards his destruction, compares him to King Harry; but being afraid to offend the rival courtiers, or perhaps the Queen herself, he confesses that he is lower than a King, but would never have represented him absolutely as low. Johnson.
Mr. Pope made this improper alteration; as well as a thousand others equally reprehensible. Our author had the best grounds for supposing that Lord Essex, on his return from Ireland, would be attended with a numerous concourse of well-wishers ; for, on his setting out for that country in the spring of the year in which this play was written, “ he took horse (savs the Continuator of Stowe's Chronicle) in Seeding lane, and from thence being accompanied with diverse poblemen and many others, himselfe very plainly attired, roade through Grace-church street, Cornhill, Cheapside, and other high streets, in all which places and in the fields, the people pressed exceedingly to behold him, especially in the high way for more than foure miles space, crying, and saying, God blesse your Lordship, God preserve your honour, &e. and some followed him till the evening, only to behold him." !! Such and so great (adds the same writer) was the hearty love
Were now the general of our gracious empresso
and deep affection of the people towards him, by reason of his bounty, liberalitie, affabilitie, and mild behaviour, that as well schollars, souldiers, citizens, saylers, &c. protestants, papists, sectaries and atheists, yea women and children which never saw him, that it was held in them a happiness to follow the worst of his fortunes.” That such a man should have fallen a sacrifice to the caprice of a fantastick woman, and the machinations of the detestable Cecil, must ever be lamented. His return from Ireland, however, was very different from what our poet predicted. See a curious account of it in the Sydney Papers, vol. ii. p. 127.
Malone, 9 — the general of our gracious empress -] The Earl of Essex, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Pope. · Few noblemen of his age were more courted by poets. From Spenser, to the lowest rhymer, he was the subject of numerous sonnets or popular ballads. I will not except Sydney. I could produce evidence to prove that he scarce ever went out of England, or left London, on the most frivolous enterprize, without a pastoral in his praise, or a panegyrick in metre, which were sold or sung in the streets. T. WARTON.
To such compliments as are here bestowed by our author on the earl of Essex, Barnabie Riche, in his Souldier's Wishe to Britons Welfare, or Captain Skill and Captain Pill, 1604, p. 21, seems to allude : “-- not so much as a memorandum for the most honourable enterprizes, how worthily so ever performed, unless perhaps a little commendation in a ballad, or if a man be favoured by a playmaker, he may sometimes be canonized on a stage.”
STEEVENS, Bringing rebellion BROACHED --] Spitted, transfixed.
Johnson. 2 The emperor's coming -] The emperor Sigismond, who was married to Henry's second cousin. If the text be right, I suppose the meaning is—The emperor is coming, &c. but I suspect some corruption, for the Chorus speaks of the emperor's visit
To order peace between them;) and omit All the occurrences, whatever chanc'd, Till Harry's back-return again to France ; There must we bring him; and myself have play'd The interim, by remembering you—'tis past. Then brook abridgement; and your eyes advance After your thoughts, straight back again to France.
France. An English Court of Guard.
Enter Fluellen and Gower. Gow. Nay, that's right; but why wear you your leek to-day ? Saint Davy's day is past.
Flu. There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things: I will tell you, as my friend, captain Gower; The rascally, scald, beggarly, lowsy,
as now past. I believe a line has been lost before “The emperor's,” &c.—If we transpose the words and omit, we have a very unmetrical line, but better sense. “Omit the emperor's coming, —and all the occurrences which happened till Harry's return to France.” Perhaps this was the author's meaning, even as the words stand. If so, the mark of parenthesis should be placed after the word home, and a comma after them. Malone.
The embarrassment of this passage will be entirely removed by a very slight alteration, the omission of a single letter, and reading
"The emperor coming in behalf of France," Instead of-emperor's. M. Mason. Mr. Capell proposes the following insertion :
“ To order peace between them : But these now
“ We pass in silence over ; and omit," &c. BosweLL. 3 Scene I.] This scene ought, in my opinion, to conclude the fourth Act, and be placed before the last Chorus. There is no English camp in this Act; the quarrel apparently happened before the return of the army to England, and not after so long an interval as the Chorus has supplied. Johnson.
Fluellen presently says, that he wore his leek in consequence of an affront he had received but the day before from Pistol. Their present quarrel has therefore no reference to that begun in the sixth scene of the third Act. Steevens.
pragging knave, Pistol, which you and yourself, and all the 'orld, know to be no petter than a fellow, look you now, of no merits,--he is come to me, and prings me pread and salt yesterday, look you, and bid me eat my leek: it was in a place where I could not breed no contentions with him; but I will be so pold as to wear it in my cap till I see him once again, and then I will tell him a little piece of my desires.
Enter Pistol. Gow. Why, here he comes, swelling like a tur. key-cock.
Flu. 'Tis no matter for his swellings, nor his turkey-cocks.-Got pless you, ancient Pistol! you scurvy, lowsy knave, Got pless you ! Pist. Ha! art thou Bedlam ? dost thou thirst,
base Trojan, To have me fold up Parca's fatal web 4 ? Hence! I am qualmish at the smell of leek.
Flu. I peseech you heartily, scurvy lowsy knave, at my desires, and my requests, and my petitions, to eat, look you, this leek; because, look you, you do not love it, nor your affections, and your appetites, and your digestions, does not agree with it, I would desire you to eat it.
Pist. Not for Cadwallader, and all his goats.
Flu. There is one goat for you. [Strikes him.] Will you be so goot, scald knave, as eat it ?
Prst. Base Trojan, thou shalt die.
Flu. You say very true, scald knave, when Got's will is : I will desire you to live in the mean time, and eat your victuals : come, there is sauce for it.
Striking him again. You called me yesterday, mountain-squire; but I will make you to-day a
4 To have me fold up, &c.] Dost thou desire to have me put thee to death ? Johnson.
squire of low degrees. I pray you, fall to; if you can mock a leek, you can eat a leek.
Gow. Enough, captain ; you have astonished him .
Flu. I say, I will make him eat some part of my leek, or I will peat his pate four days :- Pite, I pray you ; it is goot for your green wound, and your ploody coxcomb.
Pist. Must I bite ?
Flu. Yes, certainly; and out of doubt, and out of questions too, and ambiguities.
Pist. By this leek, I will most horribly revenge ; I eat, and eke I swear-?.
Flu. Eat, I pray you: Will you have some more sauce to your leek ? there is not enough leek to swear by.
5- squire of low degree.] That is, “ I will bring thee to the ground." Johnson.
“ The Squire of Low Degree" is the title of an old romance, enumerated, among other books, in A Letter concerning Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment at Kenelworth. STEEVENS.
This metrical romance, which was very popular among our countrymen in ancient times, was burlesqued by Chaucer, in his rhyme of Sir Thopas, and begins thus :
“It was a squyre of lowe degre,
“ That loved the king's daughter of Hungré." See Reliques of English Poetry, vol. iii. p, 30, 2d edition.
Percy. 6 — ASTONISHED him.] That is, you have stunned him with the blow. Johnson.
Rather, you have confounded him. M. Mason.
Dr. Johnson's explanation is the true one. So, in the second book of The Destruction of Troy: “ Theseus smote again upon his enemy, which, &c.— and struck Theseus so fiercely with his sword—that he was astonished with the stroke.” Steevens.
7 I eat, and eke I swear -] The first folio has eat, for which the later editors have put—" I eat and swear." We should read, I suppose, in the frigid tumour of Pistol's dialect :
“I eat, and eke I swear.” Johnson. Thus also Pistol, in The Merry Wives of Windsor :
“And I to Ford shall eke unfold —." Steevens. Perhaps" I eat, and eating swear.” Holt White.