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SCENE V. The vanity with which men are apt to plume themselves, with regard to titles of honour to which they can claim no merit, in themselves, is humorousy ridiculed here by Poins, in his notes on Falstaff's letter to the Prince, which is given him to read.

Poins, reading. John Falstaff, Knight. Every man must know that, as often as he hath occasion to name himself; even like those that are a-kin to the king, for they never prick their finger, but they cry, there is Come of the king's blood spilt-How comes that? says he that takes upon bim not to conceive it. The answer is as ready, as a bor, tower's cap*I am the king's poor coufin, Sir.

Prince. Nay, they will be a-kin to 'ns, or they will fetch it from Jajbet.

SCENE VI. The servile adulation usually paid to great or distinguished persons, even to an imitation of their very defects, and which Alexander properly reprehended, by giving a box on the ear to one of his courtiers who had mimicked the wryness of his neck, is well represented here: Lady Percy, speaking of Hotspur,

He was, indeed, the glass,
Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves.
He had no legs, that practised not his gait;
And speaking thick †, which nature made his blemish,
Became the accents of the would-be valiant;
For those that could speak low and tardily,
Would turn their own perfection to abuse,
To seem like him. So that, in speech, and gait,
In diet, in affections of delight,
In military rules, humours of blood,
He was the mark, and glass, copy and book,

That fashioned others.
* Always cap in band to his creditor.

+ Might we not venture to substitute the word quick, in this passage, as being better opposed to the description in the second line following of lav and tardily Tause who speak quick, generally spcak loud also; which compleats the opposio tion.

In the last passage of this Scene, the uncertain and irresolute deliberation of mind, in which men are apt to be held in suspence, upon the crisis of doubtful adventures, is well described by an apt simile. Northumberland. Tis with my mind,

As with the ride swelled up unto its height, .
That makes a ftill ftand, running neither way.
Fain would I go to meet the archbishop. *,
But many thousand reasons hoid me back.
I will resolve for Scotland; there am I,
Till time and ’vantage crave my company.

SCENE X. In this Scene, Doll makes a speech that is worthy to be remarked upon. When Pistol is ftiled captain, she says,

Captain! thou abominable damned cheater, art thou not alhamed to be called captain? If captains were of my mind, they would cuncheon you out of taking their names upon you, before you have earned thein. A captain! thele villains will make the word cap-. tain odious—therefore captains had need look to it.

There is a punetilio of the kind hinted at here, already established in the Army; but it is confined only to one article, namely courage. If an officer declines a challenge, or suffers an affront to pass unsesented, his corps refuse to roll with him. It would be better, if this point of honour respected the moral as well as the natural part of a soldier's character ; and better ftill, if the same spirit and virtue were exerted in every class or distinction of life; among lords, commoners, lawyers, parsons, and physicians. A rule of this fort would go further towards the reformation of manners, than all the laws and preachments that ever were made.

SCENE XI. The Night merits and superficial accomplishments which too often connect young persons in fellowship with each other, are here well exposed. When For.

York, then up in arms on his fide.

tunc

cune is whirling her wheel about, the turning of a tobacco-stopper, or of a straw, may make a man, ас, cording to Trinculo's expression*.

Falstaff, and Doll Tearsheet. Doll. Sirrah, what humour is the prince of ?

Falfaff. A good shallow young fellow; he would have made a good pantler; he would have chipped bread well.

Dell. They say Poins has a good wit,

Falfaff. He a good wit hang him, baboon! His wit is as thick as Tewksbury mustard. There is no more conceit in him than is in a mallet.

Dell. Why does the prince love him so, then?

Falktof. Because their legs are both of a bigness, and he plays at quoits well, and eats conger and fennel + ; and drinks off can, dles ends for flap-dragons t, and rides the wild mare with the boys, and jumps over joint ftools, and swears with a good grace, and wears his boot very smooth, like the sign of the leg, and breeds no bate with telling of indiscreet ftories; and such other gambol faculties he hath, that thew a weak mind, and an able body; for the which the prince admits him, for he is himself such another; the weight of an hair would turn the scales between their avoirdypois.

ACT III. SCENE I. In the fine speech which fills this Scene, the anxieties of the great, with the content of the commonalty, the difference between the labour of the mind, and that of the body, are beautifullly contrasted, and most poetically compared.

The King alone in his nigbl-gown,
How many thousands of my poorest subjects
Are at this hour asleep! O gentle sleep,
Nature's soft nurse! how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,

1

. In the Tempeft.

+ As I know of no story that this circumfance can be applied to, it may be fupposed to allude to the particular talte (for ’tis far from a general one) of the Prince, which Poins might have adopted; as lady Percy says, the fatterers of Hot spur affected him even in bis diet. From which hint I hould think, that a fennellater would be a better expresfion for fawners, than toad.eater, because the authority of the phrase is better, as being vouched by this passage.

1 This article I can only explain by another boyith trick, called making fire. Bips. An almond is lighted, put into a glass of any liquor, and swallowed down before the flame is extinguished,

And

And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, fleep, lieft thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets ftretching thee,
And hushed with buzzing night-Aies to thy sumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of coftly state,
And lulled with sounds of sweeteft neiody?.
O thou doll god, why lieft thou with the re,
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingły couch
A watch-case , or a common larum-be:1?
Wilt thou, upon the high and giddy matt,
Seal up the hip-boy's eyes, and rock his brains,
In cradle of the rude imperious furge;
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by che top,
Carling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deaf'ning clamours in the flippery throuds,
That with the burley death itfelf awakes ?
Cantt thou, O partial deep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour fo rude?
And in the calmelt and the ftillett night,
With all appliances, and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy, lowly clown,
Uneasy lies the head shat wears a crown.

SCENE II. There is a fad, because a toa true, prospect of human life, presented to us here, which justifies the goodness of Providence,

“.And vindicates the ways of God to man," in hiding the future from our view. Quid fit futurum cras, fuge quærere.--All the knowledge that is necefsary to true wisdom, the intire volume of morality and devotion lies open before ys; the contingencies of events only, of little import, upon the whole of our existence, being veiled from our fight.

“ Heaven from all creatures hides the book of fate,
" All but the page prescrib'!, their prefent fiale ;
" Froin brutes what men, from mer vhat spirits know,
" Or who could fuffer being here be.c" ?"

Tope's Effay on Man. Were we capable of foreseeing effects in their caules, and admitted to peer through the telescope of

* A fentry-box, to which was fixed an alaruan beil, that the Sentinel was to rings in order to give norice of any attack on his post.

time, it would more frequently and generally make us unhappy before our sufferings ; would render the future and precarious evil present and certain ; dull the sense of anticipated good, by giving us enjoyment before poffeffion; hope, the enhancer of expected bliss, would be lost in assurance ; and that dear cordial of despair be then struck off from the materia medica of a fiction.

Cicero speaks finely upon this subject. I forget the place; but 'tis where he supposes Priam, Pompey, and Cæfar; to have had their several pages in the book of Fate laid open before them, in the height of their prosperity.

The King, Warwick, and Surry.
King. Oh Heaven, that one might read the book of Fate,

And see the revolution of the times,
Make mountains level; and the continent,
Weary of folid firmness, melt itself
Into the sea ; and, other times, to see
The beachy girdle of the ocean
Too wide for Neptune's hips ! How chances mock,
And changes fill the cup of alteration
With divers liquors! O, if this were feen,
The happieft youth, viewing his progress through,
What perils pressed, what crosses to ensue,
Would tut the book, and fit him down and die.
'Tis not ten years gone,
Since Richard and Northumberland, great friends,
Did fealt together, and in two years after
Were they at wars. It is but eight years since
This Percy was the man neareft my soul,
Who like a brother toiled in my affairs,
And laid his love and life under my foot ;
Yea, for my fake, even to the eyes of Richard,
Gave him defiance. But which of you was by?
You, coufin Nevil, as I may remember, (To Warwick.
When Richard, with his eye brimful of tears t,
Then checked and rated by Northumberland,

C

• The word is paft, in the text; about which the Commentators raise a diffi. culty, but don't remove it. I hope that this mere verbal alteration will obviate the obje&tion ; and suppofing it to have been spelt preft, in the original manuscript, the transcribes might eafily have made the miitake.

This line is very affecting. Shakespeare's humanity prompted him to make this unfortunate prince appear an object of compaffion, even where he is not exbi. bited in the scene, by describing a circumstance that was no otherwise necessary to this passage,

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