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Mordake earl of Fife, and eldest son
West. In faith,
me sin, In envy that my lord Northumberland Should be the father to so blest a sono: A son, who is the theme of honour's tongue; Amongst a grove the very straightest plant ; Who is sweet fortune's minion, and her pride: Whilst I, by looking on the praise of him, See riot and dishonour stain the brow Of my young Harry. O! that it could be prov'd, That some night-tripping fairy had exchang’d In cradle-clothes our children where they lay, . And call’d mine Percy, his Plantagenet: Then, would I have his Harry, and he mine. But let him from my thoughts.—What think you, coz, , Of this young Percy's pride ? the prisoners, Which he in this adventure hath surpriz’d, To his own use he keeps; and sends me word, I shall have none but Mordake earl of Fife.
West. This is his uncle's teaching, this is Worcester, Malevolent to you in all aspects; Which makes him prune himself, and bristle up The crest of youth against your dignity.
K. Hen. But I have sent for him to answer this;
8 West. In faith,
It is–] In the old copies, these words are made part of what the king says, and run on as a portion of the same line, which, it is quite evident, is complete at “is it not?” In the two oldest quartos there is a wide space between “is it not ?" and " In faith it is,” and there can be little doubt that the latter words were placed by mere accident in the preceding line.
the father to so blest a son :) The folio, 1623, adopting the reading of the later quartos, reads “ of so blest a son.”
And for this cause awhile we must neglect
West. I will, my liege.
The Same. Another Apartment in the Palace.
Enter HENRY, Prince of Wales, and FalstAFF. Fal. Now, Hal; what time of day is it, lad ?
P. Hen. Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon”, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly, which thou would'st truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day ? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the signs of leaping-houses, and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colour'd taffeta, I see no reason why thou should'st be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Fal. Indeed, you come near me, now, Hal; for we, that take purses, go by the moon and the seven stars, and not by Phæbus,-he, “ that wandering knight so
1 Will hold at Windsor : so inform the lords ;] The folio, 1623, without the authority of any preceding edition, inserts and in the middle of this line to the injury of the metre.
upon benches after noon,] The folio has it" in the afternoon."
- why thou should'st be so superfluous-] “So " is the reading of the quarto, 1598, and of the folio, 1623 : all the other quartos omit “ so.”
- and the seven stars ;] “ The” is omitted in the quartos subsequent to that of 1608, and in the folio, 1623.
fairs.” And, I pr’ythee, sweet wag, when thou art king,—as, God save thy grace,-majesty, I should say, for grace thou wilt have none,
P. Hen. What! none?
Fal. No, by my troth ; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P. Hen. Well, how then ? come, roundly, roundly.
Fal. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be called thieves of the day's beauty: let us be Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon; and let men say, we be men of good government, being governed as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance we steal.
P. Hen. Thou say’st well, and it holds well, too; for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea, being governed as the sea is, by the moon. As for proof now: a purse of gold most resolutely snatched on Monday night, and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning; got with swearinglay by; and spent with crying—bring in ; now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder, and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
Fal. By the Lord, thou say'st true, lad. And is not my
hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench? P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a most sweet robe of durance?
" that wandering knight so fair.”] Perhaps an expression from some ballad upon the adventures of the Knight of the Sun, a well-known romance of the time, translated from the Spanish, by Margaret Tyler, under the title of “ The Mirror of Princely Deeds and Knighthood.” It forms nine parts.
6 As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle.] The folio, 1623, merely reads, “ As is the honey, my old lad of the castle.” The words “ old lad of the castle” are conjectured to be an allusion to the name of Oldcastle, by which Falstaff was originally known in this play: there could otherwise be no joke in the expression. See this point considered in the Introduction ; and it may be here added, that Mr. Halliwell, in his “ Essay on the Character of Sir John Falstaff," there referred to, goes far to establish the three following propositions :-“1. That the stage was in possession of a rude outline of Fal
Fal. How now, how now, mad wag! what, in thy quips, and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin??
P. Hen. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern ?
Fal. Well, thou hast called her to a reckoning many a time and oft.
P. Hen. Did I ever call for thee to pay thy part?
Fal. No: I'll give thee thy due; thou hast paid all there.
P. Hen. Yea, and elsewhere, so far as my coin would stretch ; and, where it would not, I have used my credit.
Fal. Yea, and so used it, that were it not here apparents that thou art heir apparent,—But, I pr’ythee, sweet wag, shall there be gallows standing in England when thou art king, and resolution thus fobbed, as it is, with the rusty curb of old father antick, the law? Do not thou, when thou art a king, hang a thief.
P. Hen. No: thou shalt.
Fal. Shall I? O rare! By the Lord, I'll be a brave judge.
P. Hen. Thou judgest false already: I mean, thou
staff before Shakespeare wrote either part of Henry IV.,' under the name of Sir John Oldcastle. 2. That the name of Oldcastle was retained for a time in Shakespeare's 'Henry IV.,' but changed to Falstaff before the play was printed. 3. That in all probability some of the theatres, in acting ‘Henry IV.,' retained the name of Oldcastle, after the author had made the alteration.”Mr. Halliwell has a fourth proposition, in which I cannot concur, for reasons adverted to in the Introduction, viz., " That Shakespeare probably made the change before the year 1593.” I am disposed to fix the composition of " Henry IV.” part i. in 1596.
7 What a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin ?] We have already seen in “ The Comedy of Errors,” Vol. ii. p. 153, that buff was the usual dress of serjeants, whose business it was to arrest debtors. When Falstaff asks, whether “his hostess is not a sweet wench ?" the prince asks in return," whether it will not be a sweet thing to go to prison, by running in debt to this sweet wench ?” This is Johnson's explanation of the passage.
There seems also a joke intended by the words “robe of durance ;” and in “ The Comedy of Errors,” Dromio terms a serjeant " a devil in an everlasting garment."
that were it not here apparent-] In the folio, 1623, the negative is omitted, as well as in all the re-impressions of that volume.
shalt have the hanging of the thieves, and so become a rare hangman.
Fal. Well, Hal, well; and in some sort it jumps with my humour, as well as waiting in the court, I can ·
P. Hen. For obtaining of suits?
Fal. Yea, for obtaining of suits, whereof the hangman hath no lean wardrobe. 'Sblood, I am as melancholy as a gib cat’, or a lugged bear.
P. Hen. Or an old lion; or a lover's lute.
P. Hen. What sayest thou to a hare, or the melancholy of Moor-ditch??
Fal. Thou hast the most unsavoury similes'; and art, indeed, the most comparative, rascallest, sweet young prince. But, Hal, I pr’ythee, trouble me no more with vanity. I would to God, thou and I knew where a commodity of good names were to be bought. An old lord of the council rated me the other day in the street about you, sir; but I marked him not : and yet he talked very wisely; but I regarded him not : and yet he talked wisely, and in the street too.
P. Hen. Thou didst well; for wisdom cries out in the streets, and no man regards it.
9- I am as melancholy as a GIB CAT,] The melancholy of a cat is proverbial ; and Ray has “as melancholy as a gibd cat.” Such seems of old to have been the most usual way of printing it, but in all the copies of this play it stands“ gib cat." Coles, in his Dictionary, 1677, gives felis mas as the explanation of “ gib cat.”
- a Lincolnshire bagpipe.) Lincolnshire bagpipes are spoken of by several old writers; and, as Steevens pointed out, in the “ Three Lords and Three Ladies of London,” 1590, (a play partaking of the character of a morality and a historical drama,) "the sweet ballad of the Lincolnshire bagpipes” is mentioned.
? What sayest thou to a hARE, or the melancholy of Moor-DITCH !] The melancholy of a hare seems to have also been proverbial ; and Taylor, in his “Penniless Pilgrimage,” 1618, speaks of “Moor-ditch melancholy,” in reference to the filthy stagnant condition of the water in it formerly. According to Stowe's “Survey,” it “separated Bedlam Hospital from the fields,” another reason for associating it with melancholy.
unsavoury SIMILES ;] All the old copies, until the folio of 1632, have “unsavoury smiles."
4 — wisdom cries out in the streets, and -] These words are left out in the folio, and the point of the reply thereby sacrificed.