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p. 521. [By God's liggens]":-As might be expected, this whimsical oath is not in the folio. Mr. Collier corrects Shallow's provincialism, and reads 'leggins.'

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shall" is much better suited to an old-fashioned country justice, who, in Shakespeare's time, would hardly have used if.'


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"Sa'mingo":―This is the best that poor Silence, who is in a condition to be carried off to bed, can make of San Domingo,' which was a burden of old drinking songs why, no one has been able to discover.


which blows none to good":the quarto, "no man to good," which most editors re- So the folio: tain, and try to make verse of the speech.

"A foutra":-A corruption of an indecent French word not unfrequently used of old by the gross and vulgar, as an expression of contempt. Pistol did not know its meaning; and his readers need be no wiser than he.

"Bezonian":―This old military cant term has its exact equivalent in pleeb,' the cadet cant at West Point. It meant a raw, awkward soldier.

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do this, and fig me" :- Pistol here makes the fig;' an act expressive of loathing and contempt, performed by thrusting out the thumb between the first and second fingers of the clasped hand and pointing it at the person to whom the insult is offered. The custom has obtained in continental Europe, among the nations of Latin or Romance origin, for hundreds of years. The same gesture was in use among the Romans; and figures making it were worn as amulets against the evil eye. Its origin is lost in the obscurity of ages; and those curious about the reason for the name fico fig, must, causa pudoris, consult the ancient Latin and Italian Dictionaries.

"As nail in door":

As dead as a door nail' is an ancient saying, which the universal use of bells has not yet driven out. The nail referred to is, or was in ancient times, the bolt the head of which received the blows of the door knocker ere they were borne by lions' heads and brass bosses.

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p. 523. "Where is the life," &c. :- This line, from an old and undiscovered song, is also quoted by Petruchio, in The Taming of the Shrew, Act IV. Sc. 1. I believe "welcome these pleasant days" to be also a quotation. Pope and Mr. Collier's folio corrector read, "welcome this pleasant day," and thus secure a couplet for the close of the Scene.

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"Nut hook" : — - The Beadle is so called, it seems, because he bore a bill or Welsh hook, and was himself slender of body.

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p. 525. "Tis semper idem," &c. :- Mr. Verplanck suggests that these are reminiscences of the mottoes and heraldic devices that Pistol has seen.

But I pray God," &c. :- The folio here reads, "But I would that the fruit of her womb might miscarry;" the change having been made for reasons frequently assigned before.



thou thin man in a censer" :· The extraordinary misrepresentations of Mistress Tear-sheet's meaning by previous editors, even of the present day, justify the explanation, that the thin officer wore some kind of cap which she likened to a censer.


My knight," &c. :- This speech, which is printed as prose in both quarto and folio, most editors break up into verses which are variously of three, of four, of ten, and of thirteen lines! It is plainly but bombastic measured prose.

"Fear no colours": - See the Notes on Twelfth Night, Act I. Sc. 5, p. 246.

66 soon at night" - - See the Notes on The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Sc. 4, p. 310.


till their conversations":— i. e., not their speech, but their habits of life. Those who use the execrable cant, walk and conversation,' do not generally know even what it means. 'Conversation,' in the days when this phrase first was used, meant the intercourse of daily life. Guazzo's Book on “Civile Conversation" has not to do particularly with the interchange of thought; but if written now-a-days would have been called a Book on Etiquette or Polite Society. We have a remnant of this use of the word in the legal phrase, 'criminal conversation.'


Epilogue":- This Epilogue was, in my opinion, not written by Shakespeare, and the speaker, who was a dancer, seems to imply as much, by saying that it is of his own making. It is printed in the folio on a page by itself, after the list of Dramatis Personæ, and with an ornamental head piece like that over the Address to the

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great Variety of Readers. See Vol. II., Preliminary Matter. It is a manifest and a poor imitation of the Epilogue to As You Like It. See the Note on the Epilogue to The Tempest. The purpose of the introduction of this Epilogue, the latter part of it at least, I believe to have been merely the double announcement made in the last paragraph, that Falstaff was not Oldcastle, and that the author would continue "the story," (i. e., the story of the Famous Victories, which was well known to his audience, and a great favorite with them,) and make them merry with fair Katherine of France, who appears in the old play. The Epilogue was probably spoken on occasion of the change of the fat knight's name. See the Introduction to the First Part of Henry the Fourth.


to pray for the Queen":- To pray for the reigning sovereign was a common practice at the end of a play on our old stage. In the quarto the last two clauses of this Epilogue, from "and so kneel," &c., appear at the end of the first paragraph. Perhaps the Epilogue, as at first written, consisted only of this paragraph; and the quarto has the added paragraphs without the necessary transposition.


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