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intended a compliment to Queen Elizabeth, who was a performer on the lute and the virginals. See Sir James Melvil's curious ac count. Memoirs, folio, p. 50. MALONE.
Upon the wanton rushes lay you down,] It was the custom in this country, for many ages, to strew the floors with rushes, as we now cover them with carpets. JOHNSON.
Line 250. Making such difference 'twixt wake and sleep,] She will lull you by her song into soft tranquillity, in which you shall be so near to sleep as to be free from perturbation, and so much awake as to be sensible of pleasure; a state partaking of sleep and wakefulness, as the twilight of night and day. Line 255. our book,] Our paper of conditions.
-velvet-guards,] To such as have their clothes adorned with shreds of velvet, which was, I suppose, the finery of
-'Tis the next way to turn tailor, &c.] I suppose Percy means, that singing is a mean quality, and therefore he excuses his lady.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 328. Yet such extenuation let me beg, &c.] The construction is somewhat obscure. Let me beg so much extenuation, that, upon confutation of many false charges, I may be pardoned some that are true. I should read on reproof, instead of in reproof; but concerning Shakspeare's particles there is no certainty. JOHNSON.
Line 331. pick-thanks,] i. e. whispering parasites.
350. —loyal to possession;] True to him that had then possession of the crown.
Line 368. rash bavin wits,] Rash is heady, thoughtless: bavin is brushwood, which, fired, burns fiercely, but is soon out. JOHNSON.
In Shakspeare's time bavin was used for kindling fires. See Florio's Second Frutes, 4to. 1591, ch. i: "There is no fire.Make a little blaze with a bavin.” MALONE.
Line 369.carded his state;] To card does not mean to mix coarse wool with fine, but simply to work wool with a card or teazel, so as to prepare it for spinning. MALONE.
Line 372. And gave his countenance, against his name,] Made his presence injurious to his reputation.
Line 374. Of every beardless vain comparative:] Of every boy whose vanity incited him to try his wit against the King's.
When Lewis XIV. was asked, why, with so much wit, he never attempted raillery, he answered, that he who practised raillery ought to bear it in his turn, and that to stand the butt of raillery was not suitable to the dignity of a king. Scudery's Conversation. JOHNSON.
Line 376. Enfeoff'd himself to popularity:] To enfeoff is a term in law, meaning to invest with dignities or possessions. Line 407. He hath more worthy interest to the state,
Than thou, the shadow of succession:] This is obscure. I believe the meaning is-Hotspur hath a right to the kingdom more worthy than thou, who hast only the shadowy right of lineal succession, while he has real and solid power. JOHNS. Line 432. dearest-] Dearest is most fatal, most mis
Line 492. Advantage feeds him fat,] i. e. feeds himself.
Line 501. a brewer's horse:] I suppose a brewer's horse was apt to be lean with hard work. JOHNSON.
Line 520. the knight of the burning lamp.] This is a natural picture. Every man who feels in himself the pain of deformity, however, like this merry knight, he may affect to make sport with it among those whom it is his interest to please, is ready to revenge any hint of contempt upon one whom he can use with freedom. JOHNSON.
-good cheap,] Cheap is market, and good cheap
therefore is a bon marché.
-dame Partlet-] Dame Partlet was the name
given to a hen in an old story book of Reynard the Fox.
Line 575. What call you rich?] A face set with carbuncles is called a rich face. Legend of Capt. Jones. JOHNSON. Line 584. the prince is a Jack,] This term of contempt occurs frequently in our author. In The Taming of the Shrew, Katharine calls her musick-master in derision a twangling Jack. MALONE.
-Newgate-fashion.] As prisoners are conveyed
to Newgate, fastened two and two together.
Line 613.-stewed prune-] Dr. Lodge, in his pamphlet called Wit's Miserie, or the World's Madnesse, 1596, describes a bawd thus: "This is shee that laies wait at all the carriers for wenches new come up to London, and you shall know her dwelling by a dish of stewed prunes in the window; and two or three fleering wenches sit knitting or sowing in her shop." STEEVENS. Line 614. maid Marian may be &c.] Maid Marian is a man dressed like a woman, who attends the dancers of the morris. JOHNSON.
Line 644. -I pray God, my girdle break!] This wish had more force formerly than at present, it being once the custom to wear the purse hanging by the girdle; so that its breaking, if not observed by the wearer, was a serious matter. MALONE. -impudent, embossed rascal,] Embossed is swoln,
-you will not pocket up wrong:] Some part of this merry dialogue seems to have been lost. I suppose Falstaff in pressing the robbery upon his hostess, had declared his resolution not to pocket up wrongs or injuries, to which the Prince alludes. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 40. On any soul remov'd] On any less near to himself;
on any whose interest is remote.
Line 44. -no quailing now;] To quail is to languish. -56. The very list-] The list is the selvage, boundary, the utmost extent.
Line 62. A comfort of retirement-] A support to which we may have recourse. JOHNSON.
Line 67. The quality and hair of our attempt-] The hair seems to be the complexion, the character. The metaphor appears harsh to us, but, perhaps, was familiar in our author's time. We still say something is against the hair, as against the grain, that is, against the natural tendency. JOHNSON.
Line 105. The nimble-footed mad-cap prince of Wales,] Shakspeare rarely bestows his epithets at random. Stowe says of the Prince: "He was passing swift in running, insomuch that he with two other of his lords, without hounds, bow, or other engine, would take a wild buck, or doe, in a large park." STEEVENS.
Line 109. All plum'd like estriges that wing the wind;] All dressed like the Prince himself, the ostrich-feather being the cognizance of the Prince of Wales. GREY.
Line 110. Bated like eagles having lately bath'd ;] To bate is, in the style of falconry, to beat the wing, from the French, battre, that is to flutter in preparation for flight. JOHNSON. Line 116. His cuisses on his thighs,] Cuisses, French. Armour for the thighs.
The reason why his cuisses are so particularly mentioned, I conceive to be, that his horsemanship is here praised, and the cuisses are that part of armour which most hinders a horseman's activity. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 164.souced gurnet.] A gurnet is a fish very nearly resembling a piper.
It should seem from one of Taylor's pieces, entitled A Bawd, 12mo. 1635, that a sowced gurnet was sometimes used in the same metaphorical sense in which we now frequently use the word gudgeon: "Though she, [a bawd] live after the flesh, all is fish that comes to the net with her ;-She hath baytes for all kinde of frye: a great lord is her Greenland whale; a countrey gentleman is her codshead; a rich citizen's son is her sows'd gurnet, or her gudgeon.”
Line 172. -worse than a struck fowl, or a hurt wild-duck.] The repetition of the same image disposed sir Thomas Hanmer, and after him Dr. Warburton, to read, in opposition to all the copies, a struck deer, which is indeed a proper expression, but not likely to have been corrupted. Shakspeare, perhaps, wrote a struck sorrel, which being negligently read by a man not skilled in hunter's language, was easily changed to struck fowl. Sorrel is used in Love's Labour's Lost for a young deer; and the terms of the chase were, in our author's time, familiar to the ears of every gentleJOHNSON.
Line 173. such toasts and butter,] "Londiners, and all within the sound of Bow-bell, are in reproach called cocknies, and eaters of buttered tostes." Moryson's Itin. 1617. MALONE. -gyves on;] i. e. shackles.
good enough to toss ;] That is to toss upon a JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
such great leading,] Such conduct, such exJOHNSON.
perience in martial business. Line 321. Upon the naked shore &c.] In this whole speech he alludes again to some passages in Richard the Second. JOHNSON. Line 348. This head of safety;] This army, from which I hope for protection. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 361. 379.
sealed brief,] A brief is simply a letter. JOHNS. rated sinew too,] A rated sinew signifies a
strength on which we reckoned, a help of which we made account.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Act V.] It seems proper to be remarked, that in the editions printed while the author lived, this play is not broken into Acts. The division which was made by the players in the first folio, seems commodious enough; but, being without authority, may be changed by any editor who thinks himself able to make a better. JOHNSON.
-busky hill!] Busky is woody.
-to his purposes ;] That is, to the sun's, to that which the sun portends by his unusual appearance. JOHNSON. Line 31. Peace, chewet, peace,] A chewet, or chuet, is a noisy chattering bird, a pie. THEOBALD.
Line 62. As that ungentle gull, the cuckoo's bird,] The cuckoo's chicken, who, being hatched and fed by the sparrow, in whose nest the cuckoo's egg was laid, grows in time able to devour her nurse. JOHNSON.
Line 127. and bestride me,] In the battle of Agincourt, Henry, when king, did this act of friendship for his brother the Duke of Gloucester. STEEVENS.