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-hunt-counter,] That is, blunderer. He does not I think allude to any relation between the judge's servant and the counter-prison. JOHNSON. Line 408. A wassel candle, &c.] A wassel candle is a large candle lighted up at a feast. This is a poor quibble upon the word wax, which signifies increase as well as the matter of the honeycomb. JOHNSON.
Line 414. You follow the young prince up and down, like his ill angel.] The lord chief justice calls Falstaff the Prince's ill angel or genius: which Falstaff turns off by saying, an ill angel (meaning the coin called an angel) is light. THEOBALD. Line 419. -I cannot go, I cannot tell:] I cannot be taken in a reckoning; I cannot pass current. JOHNSON.
in these coster-monger times,] In these times when the prevalence of trade has produced that meanness that rates the merit of every thing by money. JOHNSON. -Pregnancy-] Pregnancy here means aptitude,
smartness, as in Hamlet.
Line 435. -your wit single?] Single may mean feeble or weak. In our author's time, as an anonymous writer observes, small beer was called single beer, and that of a stronger quality double beer. MALONE.
would I might never spit white again.] i. e. may I never have my stomach heated again with liquor; for to spit white is the consequence of inward heat. STEEVENS.
Line 480. -you are too impatient to bear crosses.] I believe a quibble was here intended. Falstaff had just asked his lordship to lend him a thousand pound, and he tells him in return that he is not to be entrusted with money. A cross is a coin so called, because stamped with a cross. STEEVENS. Line 483. fillip me with a three-man beetle.] A beetle wielded by three men. POPE.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 546. in this present quality of war;] Bardolph, I think, means to say, "Indeed the present action (our cause being now on foot, war being actually levied,) lives," &c. otherwise the speaker is made to say, in general, that all causes once on foot
afford no hopes that may securely be relied on; which is certainly MALONE.
Line 603. Let us on; &c.] This excellent speech of York was one of the passages added by Shakspeare after his first edition.
ACT II. SCENE I.
Line 3. Where is your yeoman?] A bailiff's follower was, in our author's time, called a serjeant's yeoman. MALONE. Line 21. —an a' come but within my vice ;] Vice or grasp ; a metaphor taken from a smith's vice: there is another reading in the old edition, view, which I think not so good. POPE. lubbar's head-] This is, I suppose, a colloquial corruption of the libbard's head. JOHNSON. honey-suckle villain!-honey-seed rogue !] The landlady's corruption of homicidal and homicide. THEOBALD. Line 62. -rampallian!-] A mean wretch. JOHNSON. -fustilarian!] Is, I believe, a made word from MALONE.
-a parcel-gilt goblet,] i. e. a goblet gilt only in
Line 97. for liking his father to a singing man-] The Prince might allow familiarities with himself, and yet very pioperly break the knight's head when he ridiculed his father. JOHNS. -you have, &c.] In the first quarto it is read thus-You have, as it appears to me, practised upon the easy yielding spirit of this woman, and made her serve your uses both in purse and person. Without this, the following exhortation of the Chief Justice is less proper. JOHNSON. this sneap-] A Yorkshire word for rebuke. POPE. 142. -answer in the effect of your reputation,] That is, answer in a manner suitable to your character. JOHNSON. Line 158. German hunting in water-work,] i. e. in watercolours. WARBURTON.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 237. —that bawl out the ruins of thy linen,] I suspect we should read-that bawl out of the ruins of thy linen; i. e. his bastard children, wrapt up in his old shirts.
Line 295. window.
-through a red lattice,] i. e. from an ale-house MALONE.
Line 304. Althea dreamed &c.] Shakspeare is here mistaken in his mythology, and has confounded Althea's firebrand with Hecuba's. The firebrand of Althea was real: but Hecuba, when she was big with Paris, dreamed that she was delivered of a firebrand that consumed the kingdom. JOHNSON. the martlemas, your master?] That is, the autumn, or rather the latter spring. The old fellow with juvenile passions. JOHNSON. -this wen-] This swoln excrescence of a man. JOHNSON. POPE.
-frank?] Frank is sty.
-367. Ephesians,] Ephesian was a term in the cant of these times, of which I know not the precise notion: it was, perhaps, a toper. So, the Host, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: " It is thine host, thine Ephesian calls." JOHNSON.
Line 393. a heavy descension!] Mr. Upton proposes that we should read thus by transposition: From a god to a bull? a low transformation!]from a prince to a prentice? a heavy declension! This reading is elegant, and perhaps right. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE IV.
Line 486. Sneak's noise;] Sneak was a street minstrel, and therefore the drawer goes out to listen if he can hear him in the neighbourhood. JOHNSON.
Line 494. -here will be old utis:] Utis, an old word yet in use in some counties, signifying a merry festival, from the French huit, octo, ab. A. S. Eahra, Octavæ festi alicujus.—Skinner. POPE.
Line 516. You make fat rascals,] Falstaff alludes to a phrase of the forest. Lean deer are called rascal deer. He tells her she calls him wrong, being fat he cannot be a rascal. JOHNSON.
Line 524. Your brooches, pearls, and owches ;] Brooches were chains of gold that women wore formerly about their necks. Owches were bosses of gold set with diamonds. POPE.
I believe Falstaff gives these splendid names as we give that of carbuncle, to something very different from gems and ornaments : but the passage deserves not a laborious research. JOHNSON.
It appears from Stubbe's Anatomie of Abuses, 1595, that owches were worn by women in their hair in Shakspeare's time. Dr. Johnson's conjecture, however, may be supported by the following passage in Maroccus Exstaticus, 1595: "Let him pass for a churle, and wear his mistress's favours, viz. rubies and precious stones, on his nose, &c. and this et cetera shall, if you will, be the perfectest p― that ever grew in Shoreditch or Southwarke.”
MALONE. Line 527. —the charged chambers-] Chambers are very small pieces of ordnance which are yet used in London on what are called rejoicing days, and were sometimes used in our author's theatre on particular occasions. See King Henry VIII. Act I. sc. iii. MALONE.
The quibble here lies in the word chamber.
Line 533. -as two dry toasts;] Which cannot meet but they grate one another. JOHNSON.
Line 535. good-year !] For goujere, i. e. the lues venerea. -545. ancient Pistol-] Is the same as ensign Pistol. Falstaff was captain, Peto lieutenant, and Pistol ensign, or ancient. JOHNSON.
Line 575. -a tame cheater,] Gamester and cheater were, in Shakspeare's age, synonymous terms. Ben Jonson has an epigram on Captain Hazard, the cheater. STEEVENS.
Line 608. ―an you play the saucy cuttle with me.] It appears from Greene's Art of Coneycatching, that cuttle and cuttle-boung were the cant terms for the knife used by the sharpers of that age to cut the bottoms of purses, which were then worn hanging at the girdle. STEEVENS. Line 611. —with two points—] As a mark of his commission. JOHNSON.
-618. Captain, thou abominable damned cheater, &c.] Pistol's character seems to have been a common one on the stage in the time of Shakspeare. In A Woman's a Weathercock, by N. Field, 1612, there is a personage of the same stamp, who is thus described:
"Thou unspeakable rascal, thou a soldier!
"That with thy slops and cat-a-mountain face,
"A weekly subsidy, twelve pence a piece,
Line 627. -as odious as the word occupy ;] Occupant seems to have been formerly a term for a woman of the town, as occupier was for a wencher. MALONE. -down faitors!] i. e. scoundrels, rascals. Have we not Hiren here?] Hiren from the title of an old play, formerly understood to mean an harlot.
Line 648. -Cannibals,] Cannibal is used by a blunder for Hannibal. This was afterwards copied by Congreve's Bluff and Wittol. Bluff is a character apparently taken from this of ancient Pistol. JOHNSON.
Line 661. feed, and be fat, my fair Calipolis:] This is a burlesque on a line in an old play called The Battle of Alcazar, &c. printed in 1594, in which Muley Mahomet enters to his wife with lion's flesh on his sword. STEEVENS.
Line 663. Si fortuna me tormenta, sperato me contenta.] Sir Thomas Hanmer reads:
Si fortuna me tormenta, il sperare me contenta.— which is undoubtedly the true reading; but perhaps it was intended that Pistol should corrupt it. JOHNSON.
Line 667. Come we to full points here; &c.] That is, shall we stop here, shall we have no further entertainment? JOHNSON. Line 670. Sweet knight, I kiss thy neif:] i. e. thy fist. -685. Come, Atropos,] It has been suggested that this is a name which Pistol gives to his sword; but surely he means nothing more than to call on one of the sisters three to aid him in the fray. MALONE.
Line 711. I'll canvas thee between a pair of sheets.] Doll's meaning here is sufficiently clear. There is however an allusion which might easily escape notice, to the material of which coarse sheets were formerly made. So, in the MS. Account-book of Mr. Philip Henslow, which has been already quoted: "7 Maye, 1594. Lent goody Nalle upon a payre of canvas sheates, for v s.”
Line 717. little tidy Bartholomew boar-pig,] For tidy, Sir. T. Hanmer reads tiny; but they are both words of endear