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speare's time, by persons of inferior condition, on a principle of
-caddis-garter,] Caddis was, I believe, a kind
of coarse ferret. The garters of Shakspeare's time were worn in sight, and consequently were expensive. He who would submit to wear a coarser sort was probably called by this contemptuous distinction. STEEVENS.
Line 421. -brown bastard-] Bastard was a kind of sweet wine. The prince finding the waiter not able, or not willing, to understand his instigation, puzzles him with unconnected prattle, and drives him away. JOHNSON.
Line 450. I am not yet of Percy's mind,] The drawer's answer had interrupted the prince's train of discourse. He was proceeding thus: I am now of all humours that have showed themselves humours;—I am not yet of Percy's mind; that is, I am willing to indulge myself in gaiety and frolick, and try all the varieties of human life. I am not yet of Percy's mind,-who thinks all the time lost that is not spent in bloodshed, forgets decency and civility, and has nothing but the barren talk of a brutal soldier. JOHNSON.
Line 460. lish taverns.
-Rivo,] This was perhaps the cant of the Eng-
. Line 469. Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter? pitiful-hearted Titan! that melted at the sweet tale of the son!] The Prince, undoubtedly, by the words, "Didst thou never see Titan kiss a dish of butter?" alludes to Falstaff's entering in a great heat, "his fat dripping with the violence of his motion, as butter does with the heat of the sun." Our author here, as in many other places, having started an idea, leaves it, and goes to another that has but a very slight connection with the former. Thus the idea of butter melted by Titan, or the Sun, suggests to him the idea of Titan's being melted or softened by the tale of his son, Phaëton : a tale, which undoubtedly Shakspeare had read in the third Book of Golding's translation of Ovid, having, in his description of Winter, in The Midsummer-night's Dream, imitated a passage that is found in the same page in which the history of Phaeton is related. I would, however, wish to read-thy son. In the old copies, the, thee, and thy, are frequently confounded. MALONE.
Line 482. -I would I were a weaver; I could sing psalms &c.] In the persecutions of the Protestants in Flanders under Philip II. those who came over into England on that occasion, brought with them the woollen manufactory. These were Calvinists, who were always distinguished for their love of psalmody. WARB. Line 547. two, I am sure, I have paid;] i. e. drubbed, beaten. MALONE.
Line 572. Fal. Their points being broken,
Poins. Down fell their hose.] To understand Poins's joke, the double meaning of point must be remembered, which signifies the sharp end of a weapon, and the lace of a garment. The cleanly phrase for letting down the hose, ad levandum alvum, was to untruss a point, JOHNSON.
-Kendal- -] Kendal, a town famous for its manufactories of cloth.
Line 586. tallow-keech,] The word tallow-catch is in all editions, but, having no meaning, cannot be understood. In some parts of the kingdom, a cake or mass of wax or tallow is called a keech, which is doubtless the word intended here, unless we read tallow-ketch, that is tub of tallow. JOHNSON.
-Give him as much as will
Line 651.- There is a noblemanmake him a royal man,] I believe here is a kind of jest intended. He that received a noble was, in cant language, called a nobleman : in this sense the Prince catches the word, and bids the landlady give him as much as will make him a royal man, that is, a real or royal man, and send him away. JOHNSON.
Line 675. the blood of true men.] That is, of the men with whom they fought, of honest men, opposed to thieves. JOHNSON. Line 681. Thou hadst fire &c.] The fire was in his face. A red face is termed a fiery face:
"While I affirm a fiery face
"Is to the owner no disgrace." Legend of Capt. Jones.
Line 687. Hot livers and cold purses.] That is, drunkenness and poverty. To drink was, in the language of those times, to heat the
Line 691.! -711.
-bombast?] Is the stuffing of clothes. JOHNS. pistol-] Shakspeare never has any care to
preserve the manners of the time. Pistols were not known in the age of Henry. Pistols were, I believe, about our author's time eminently used by the Scots. Sir Henry Wotton somewhere makes mention of a Scottish pistol. JOHNSON.
blue-caps-] A name of ridicule given to the
Scots from their blue-bonnets.
Line 724. —you may buy land &c.] In former times the prosperity of the nation was known by the value of land, as now by the price of stocks. Before Henry the Seventh made it safe to serve the King regnant, it was the practice at every revolution, for the conqueror to confiscate the estates of those that opposed, and perhaps of those who did not assist him. Those, therefore, that foresaw the change of government, and thought their estates in danger, were desirous to sell them in haste for something that might be carried away. JOHNSON.
Line 755. Well, here is my leg.] That is, my obeisance to my father. JOHNSON.
Line 771. though the camomile, &c.] This whole speech is supremely comick. The simile of camomile, used to illustrate a contrary effect, brings to my remembrance an observation of a late writer of some merit, whom the desire of being witty has betrayed into a like thought. Meaning to enforce with great vehemence the mad temerity of young soldiers, he remarks, that "though Bedlam be in the road to Hogsden, it is out of the way to promotion."
. Line 780. -a micher;] i. e. truant; to mich is to lurk out of sight, a hedge-creeper WARBURTON. The allusion is to a truant boy, who unwilling to go to school, and afraid to go home, lurks in the fields, and picks wild fruits. JOHNSON.
Line 810.rabbet-sucker, &c.] Is, I suppose, a sucking rabbet. The jest is in comparing himself to something thin and little. So a poulterer's hare; a hare hung up by the hind legs without a skin, is long and slender. JOHNSON.
Line 825. -bolting-hutch-] The bolting is the separation of the flour from the bran, and the trough which receives the flour is called the hutch.
Line 826. barrel for wine.
-that huge bombard of sack,] A bombard is a
Line 828. -Maningtree or--] Maningtree in Essex, and the neighbourhood of it, are famous for richness of pasture. The farms thereabouts are chiefly tenanted by graziers. Some ox of an unususal size was, I suppose, roasted there on an occasion of publick festivity, or exposed for money to publick show. STEEVENS.
Line 829. that reverend vice, that grey iniquity,—that vanity in years?] The Vice, Iniquity, and Vanity, were personages exhibited in the old moralities. MALONE.
cunning,] Cunning was not yet debased to a bad meaning; it signified knowing, or skilful. JOHNSON.
Line 879. 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 been hidden, he could not have been found asleep, nor had his pockets searched. JOHNSON.
Line 927. -I know, his death will be a march of twelvescore.] i. e. it will kill him to march so far as twelve-score yards.
Line 2. induction-] That is, entrance; beginning. JOHNS. -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. MALONE.
Line 16. Of burning cressets;] A Cresset was a light-house, a watch-tower, a fire beacon.
Line 31. 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 phi losophical confutation of superstitious error. JOHNSON.
Line 44. The goats ran from the mountains, and the herds
Were strangely clamorous to the frighted fields.] Shakspeare appears to have been as well acquainted with the rarer phænomena, as with the ordinary appearances of nature. A writer
in The Philosophical Transactions, No. 207, describing an earthquake in Catanea, near Mount Etna, by which eighteen thousand persons were destroyed, mentions one of the circumstances that are here said to have marked the birth of Glendower: "There was a blow, as if all the artillery in the world had been discharged at once; the sea retired from the town above two miles; the birds flew about astonished; the cattle in the fields ran crying."
-cantle out.] A cantle is a piece with corners.
144. For I was train'd up in the English court:] Owen Glendower, whose real name was Owen ap-Gryffyth Vaughan, took the name of Glyndour or Glendour from the lordship of Glyndourdwy, of which he was owner. He was particularly adverse to the Mortimers, because Lady Percy's nephew, Edmund Earl of Mortimer, was rightfully entitled to the principality of Wales (as well as the crown of England,) being lineally descended from Gladys the daughter of Lhewelyn, and sister of David Prince of Wales, the latter of whom died in the year 1246. Owen Glendower himself claimed the principality of Wales.
He afterwards became esquire of the body to K. Richard II. with whom he was in attendance at Flint Castle, when Richard was taken prisoner by Henry of Bolingbroke, afterwards King Henry IV. Owen Glendower was crowned Prince of Wales in the year 1402, and for near twelve years was a very formidable enemy to the English. He died in great distress in 1415.
Line 147. -152.
-the tongue-] The English language. JOHNS. —a brazen canstick turn'd,] Canstick for candlestick. 172. of the moldwarp and the ant,] So Holinshed, for he was Shakspeare's authority: "This [the division of the realm between Mortimer, Glendower, and Percy,] was done (as some have sayde) through a foolish credite given to a vaine prophecie, as though king Henry was the molde-warpe, cursed of God's owne mouth, and they three were the dragon, the lion, and the wolfe, which should divide this realm between them." MALONE. Line 190.
In strange concealments;] Skilled in wonderful
Line 240. Sung by a fair queen &c.] Our author perhaps here