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which Exeter declares to be five to one; but, by the king's ac
count, they are twelve to one.
JOHNSON. warriors for the working-day :] We are soldiers but coarsely dressed; we have not on our holiday apparel.
ACT IV. SCENE IV.
Line 631. For I will fetch thy rim-] Cole, in his Dictionary, 1678, describes rim to be the caul in which the bowels are wrapped. MALONE.
Line 636. luxurious mountain goat,] Luxurious, i. e. lascivious.
a ton of moys?] Moy is a piece of money;
Line 639. whence moi d'or, or moi of gold.
-and firk him,] i. e. chastise him.
687. -this roaring devil i'the old play,] In modern puppet-shows, which seem to be copied from the old farces, Punch sometimes fights the devil, and always overcomes him. I suppose the vice of the old farce, to whom Punch succeeds, used to fight the devil with a wooden dagger. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE V.
Line 703. O perdurable shame!] Perdurable is lasting.
Line 767. Kill the poys and the luggage!] The baggage, during the battle, (as king Henry had no men to spare,) was guarded only by boys and lackeys; which some French runaways getting notice of, they came down upon the English camp-boys, whom they killed, and plundered, and burned the baggage: in resentment of which villainy it was, that the king, contrary to his wonted lenity, ordered all prisoners' throats to be cut. And to this villainy of the French runaways Fluellen is alluding, when he says, Kill the poys and the luggage! The fact is set out both by Hall and Holinshed. THEOBALD.
Unhappily the king gives one reason for his order to kill the prisoners, and Gower another. The king killed his prisoners because he expected another battle, and he had not men sufficient
to guard one army and fight another. Gower declares that the gallant king has worthily ordered the prisoners to be destroyed, because the luggage was plundered, and the boys were slain.
Line 816. the fat knight-] This is the last time that Falstaff can make sport. The poet was loath to part with him, and has continued his memory as long as he could. JOHNSON.
Line 832. Besides, we'll cut the throats &c.] The king is in a very bloody disposition. He has already cut the throats of his prisoners, and threatens now to cut them again. No haste of composition could produce such negligence; neither was this play, which is the second draught of the same design, written in haste. There must be some dislocation of the scenes. If we place these lines at the beginning of the twelfth scene, the absurdity will be removed, and the action will proceed in a regular series. This transposition might easily happen in copies written for the players. Yet it must not be concealed, that in the imperfect play of 1608, the order of the scenes is the same as here. JOHNSON.
-Monmouth caps;] Monmouth caps were
Line 876. formerly much worn.
"The best caps, (says Fuller, in his Worthies of Wales, p. 50,) were formerly made at Monmouth, where the Capper's chapel doth still remain."
Line 913. great sort,] High rank. So, in the ballad of Jane Shore:
"Lords and ladies of great sort."
Line 913., —quite from the answer of his degree.] A man of such station as is not bound to hazard his person to answer to a challenge from one of the soldier's low degree.
Line 918. Jack-sauce,] i. e. saucy Jack.
-931. -When Alençon and myself were down together,] This circumstance is not an invention of Shakspeare's. Henry was felled to the ground at the battle of Agincourt, by the duke of Alençon, but recovered and slew two of the duke's attendants. Afterwards Alençon was killed by the king's guard, contrary to Henry's intention, who wished to have saved him. MALONE.
ACT IV. SCENE VIII.
Line 1057. -sixteen hundred mercenaries ;] Mercenaries are in this place common soldiers, or hired soldiers. The gentlemen served at their own charge in consequence of their tenures. JOHNSON.
Mr. Ritson doubts Dr. Johnson's accuracy in this assertion, of gentlemen serving at their own charge.
Line 1075. -Davy Gam, esquire:] This gentleman being sent by Henry, before the battle, to reconnoitre the enemy, and to find out their strength, made this report: "May it please you, my liege, there are enough to be killed, enough to be taken prisoners, and enough to run away." He saved the king's life in the field. Had our poet been apprized of this circumstance, this brave Welshman would probably have been more particularly noticed, and not have been merely registered in a muster-roll of MALONE.
Line 1095. Do we all holy rites;] The king (say the Chronicles) caused the psalm, In exitu Israel de Ægypto (in which, according to the vulgate, is included the psalm, Non nobis, Domine, &c.) to be sung after the victory.
Line 14. -a mighty whiffler-] An officer who walks first in processions, or before persons in high stations, on occasions of ceremony. The name is still retained in London, and there is an officer so called that walks before their companies at times of publick solemnity. It seems a corruption from the French word huissier. HANMER.
Line 19. -to have borne &c.] The construction is, to have his bruised helmet, &c. borne before him through the city: i. e. to order it to be borne. This circumstance also our author found in Holinshed. MALONE. Line 23. Giving full trophy,] Transferring all the honours of conquest, all trophies, tokens, and shows, from himself to God.
- Line 31. As, by a lower but by loving likelihood,] The later editors, in hope of mending the measure of this line,
have injured the sense. The folio reads as I have printed; but all the books, since revisal became fashionable, and editors have been more diligent to display themselves than to illustrate their author, have given the line thus:
As by a low, but loving likelihood.
Thus they have destroyed the praise which the poet designed for Essex; for who would think himself honoured by the epithet low? The poet, desirous to celebrate that great man, whose popularity was then his boast, and afterwards his destruction, compares him to king Harry; but being afraid to offend the rival courtiers, or perhaps the queen herself, he confesses that he is lower than a king, but would never have presented him absolutely as low. JOHNSON.
Line 32. -the general of our gracious empress-] The earl of Essex, in the reign of queen Elizabeth.
Line 34. Bringing rebellion broached-] Spitted, transfixed. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Scene I.] This scene ought, in my opinion, to conclude the fourth act, and be placed before the last chorus. There is no English camp in this act; the quarrel apparently happened before the return of the army to England, and not after so long an interval as the chorus has supplied. JOHNSON.
Line 70. To have me fold up, &c.] Dost thou desire to have
me put thee to death?
to the ground.
squire of low degree.] That is, I will bring thee
astonished him.] That is, you have stunned
him with the blow. Line 126. I have seen you gleeking-] Gleeking, scoffing, gibing..
Line 133. Doth fortune play the huswife-] That is, the jilt. Huswife is here used in an ill sense. JOHNSON.
The comick scenes of The History of Henry the Fourth and Fifth are now at an end, and all the comick personages are now dismissed. Falstaff and Mrs. Quickly are dead; Nym and Bardolph are hanged; Gadshill was lost immediately after the rob
bery; Poins and Peto have vanished since, one knows not how; and Pistol is now beaten into obscurity. I believe every reader regrets their departure. JOHNSON.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 143. Peace to this meeting, wherefore we are met!] Peace, for which we are here met, be to this meeting.
Here, after the chorus, the fifth act seems naturally to begin.
JOHNSON. Line 172. Unto this bar-] To this barrier; to this place of congress. JOHNSON. Line 187. Unpruned dies:] We must read, lies; for neglect of pruning does not kill the vine, but causes it to ramify immoderately, and grow wild; by which the requisite nourishment is withdrawn from its fruit. WARBURTON.
This emendation is physically right, but poetically the vine may be well enough said to die, which ceases to bear fruit. JOHNSON. Line 187. her hedges even-pleach'd,-] Hedges are pleached, that is, their long branches being cut off, are twisted and woven through the lower part of the hedge, in order to thicken and strengthen the fence. The following year, when the hedge shoots out, it is customary, in many places, to clip the shoots, so as to render them even. MALONE.
tear up by the roots.
deracinate such savagery :] To deracinate is to
diffus'd attire,] Diffus'd is so much used by our author for wild, irregular, and strange, that, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, he applies it to a song supposed to be sung by fairies. JOHNSON.
Line 278. such a plain king,] I know not why Shakspeare now gives the king nearly such a character as he made him formerly ridicule in Percy. This military grossness and unskilfulness in all the softer arts does not suit very well with the gaieties of his youth, with the general knowledge ascribed to him at his accession, or with the contemptuous message sent him by the dauphin, who represents him as fitter for a ball-room than the field, and tells him that he is not to revel into duchies, or win provinces with a nimble galliard. The truth is, that the poet's matter failed