« ZurückWeiter »
-upon our cue,] In our turn. This phrase the
author learned among players, and has imparted it to kings.
Line 597. God before,] This was an expression in that age for God being my guide, or, when used to another, God be thy guide. So, in An old Dialogue between a Herdsman and a Maiden going on a Pilgrimage to Walsingham, the herdsman takes his leave in these words:
"Now, go thy ways, and God before." To prevent was used in the same sense.
There's for thy labour, Montjoy.
Go, bid thy master well advise himself :
We shall your tawny ground with your red blood
Discolour:] From Holinshed: " My desire is, that none of you be so 'unadvised, as to be the occasion that I in my defence shall colour and make red your tawny ground with the effusion of christian bloud. When he [Henry] had thus answered the herauld, he gave him a greate rewarde, and licensed him to depart." MALONE.
ACT III. SCENE VII.
Line 629. He bounds from the earth, as if his entrails were hairs;] Alluding to the bounding of tennis-balls, which were stuffed with hair, as appears from Much Ado about Nothing: "And the old ornament of his cheek hath already stuff'd tennisballs." WARBURTON.
Line 733. 'tis a hooded valour; and, when it appears, it will bate.] This is said with allusion to falcons which are kept hooded when they are not to fly at game, and, as soon as the hood is off, bait or flap the wing. The meaning is, the Dauphin's valour has never been let loose upon an enemy, yet, when he makes his first essay, we shall see how he will flutter. JOHNSON.
Line 736. I will cap that proverb-] Alluding to the practice of capping verses.
Line 772. give them great meals of beef,] Our author had the Chronicle in his thoughts: "-keep an English man one month from his warm bed, fat beef, stale drink," &c.
So also in the old King Henry V :
"Why, take an Englishman out of his warm bed,
"And his stale drink, but one moneth,
66 And, alas, what will become of him?"
ACT IV. CHORUS.
Line 3. Fills the wide vessel of the universe.] The universe, in its original sense, no more means this globe singly than the circuit of the horizon; but, however large in its philosophical sense, it may be poetically used for as much of the world as falls under observation. JOHNSON. Line 6. sacred writings:
stilly sounds,] i. e. gently, lowly. So, in the Ia still small voice."
Line 8. The secret whispers of each other's watch :] Holinshed says, that the distance between the two armies was but two hundred and fifty paces. MALONE.
Line 9. Fire answers fire;] This circumstance is also taken from Holinshed: "but at their coming into the village, fires were made (by the English) to give light on every side, as there likewise were in the French hoste." MALONE.
the other's umber'd face:] Umber'd means here discoloured by the gleam of the fires. MALONE.
Line 20. Do the low-rated English play at dice ;] From Holinshed: "The Frenchmen in the mean while, as though they had been sure of victory, made great triumphe, for the captaines had determined before how to divide the spoil, and the souldiers the night before had plaid the Englishmen at dice." MALONE.
Line 55. Minding true things,] To mind is the same as to call to rememberance.
ACT IV. SCENE I.
Line 66. That we should dress us fairly for our end.] Dress us, I believe, means here, address us; i. e. prepare ourselves.
Line 81. With casted slough &c.] Slough is the skin which the serpent annually throws off, and by the change of which he is supposed to regain new vigour and fresh youth. Legerity is lightness, nimbleness. JOHNSON.
Line 145. speak lower.] Shakspeare has here as usual followed Holinshed: "Order was taken by commandement from the king, after the army was first set in battayle array, that no noise or clamour should be made in the hoste." MALONE.
Line 168. -conditions:] Are qualities. The meaning is, that objects are represented by his senses to him, as to other men by theirs. What is danger to another is danger likewise to him; and, when he feels fear, it is like the fear of meaner mortals. JOHNSON.
Line 205. -their children rawly left.] That is, without preparation, hastily, suddenly. What is not matured is raw. So, in Macbeth:
Why in this rawness left he wife and children?”
⚫ Line 243. Every subject's duty-] This is a very just distinction, and the whole argument is well followed, and properly concluded. JOHNSON.
Line 266. 'Mass, you'll pay him then!] To pay, in old language, meant to thrash or beat; and here it signifies to bring to account, to punish. MALONE.
Line 266. -That's a perilous shot out of an elder gun,] In the old play [the quarto, 1600,] the thought is more opened. It is a great displeasure that an elder gun can do against a cannon, or a subject against a monarch. JOHNSON. Line 299.- -twenty French crowns--] This conceit, rather too low for a king, has been already explained, as alluding to the venereal disease. JOHNSON. Mr. Tyrwhitt differs from Dr. Johnson on the above passage. Line 304. Upon the king! &c.] There is something very striking and solemn in this soliloquy, into which the king breaks immediately as soon as he is left alone. Something like this, on less occasions, every breast has felt. Reflection and seriousness rush upon the mind upon the separation of a gay company, and especially after forced and unwilling merriment. JOHNSON.
What are thy rents? what are thy comings-in?
What is the soul of adoration ?] The first copy reads
This is incorrect, but I think we may discover the true reading easily enough to be,
What is thy soul, O adoration ?
That is, O reverence paid to kings, what art thou within? What are thy real qualities? What is thy intrinsick value ?
Line 339. -farced title running &c.] Farced is stuffed. The tumid puffy titles with which a king's name is always introduced. This, I think, is the sense.
Line 344. Can sleep so soundly &c.] These lines are exquisitely pleasing. To sweat in the eye of Phabus, and to sleep in Elysium, are expressions very poetical. JOHNSON.
Line 382. Two chantries,] One of these monasteries was for Carthusian monks, and was called Bethlehem; the other was for religious men and women of the order of Saint Bridget, and was named Sion. They were on opposite sides of the Thames, and adjoined the royal manor of Sheen, now called Richmond.
Line 385. Since that my penitence &c.] I do all this, says the King, though all that I can do is nothing worth, is so far from an adequate expiation of the crime, that penitence comes after all, imploring pardon both for the crime and the expiation. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE II.
Line 396. Via!—les eaux et la terre-] Via is an old hortatory exclamation, as allons! JOHNSON. . Line 405. And dout them-] To dout, for to do out, is a common phrase at this day in Devonshire and the other western counties; where they often say, dout the fire, that is, put out the fire. MALONE. Line 426. -a hilding foe ;] Hilding, or hinderling, is a low wretch.
Line 432. The tucket-sonuance, &c.] He uses terms of the field as if they were going out only to the chace for sport. To dare the field is a phrase in falconry. Birds are dared when by the falcon in the air they are terrified from rising, so that they will be sometimes taken by the hand.
Such an easy capture the lords expected to make of the English.
Line 439. Their ragged curtains poorly are let loose,] i. e. their standards or flags.
Line 448. And in their pale dull mouths the gimmal bit-] Gimmal is, in the western counties, a ring; a gimmal bit is therefore a bit of which the parts played one within another. JOHNS.
Line 450. their executors, the knavish crows,] The crows who are to have the disposal of what they shall leave, their hides and their flesh. JOHNSON.
Line 461. I stay but for my guard;] It seems, by what follows, that guard in this place means rather something of orna ment or of distinction, than a body of attendants. JOHNSON.
ACT IV. SCENE III.
Line 495. By Jove,] The king prays like a christian, and swears like a heathen. JOHNSON. Line 497. It yearns me not,] To yearn is to ver, to grieve.
512. of Crispian:] The battle of Agincourt was fought on St. Crispin's day, viz. the 25th of October.
Line 522. But he'll remember with advantages,] Old men, notwithstanding the natural forgetfulness of age, shall remember their feats of this day, and remember to tell them with advantage. Age is commonly boastful, and inclined to magnify past acts and past times. JOHNSON.
Line 530. From this day to the ending-] It may be observed that we are apt to promise to ourselves a more lasting memory than the changing state of human things admits. This prediction is not verified; the feast of Crispin passes by without any mention of Agincourt. Late events obliterate the former: the civil wars have left in this nation scarcely any tradition of more ancient history. JOHNSON.
gentle his condition:] This day shall advance
him to the rank of a gentleman.
bravely-] is splendidly, ostentatiously.
-thou hast unwish'd five thousand men;] By
wishing only thyself and me, thou hast wished five thousand men away. Shakspeare never thinks of such trifles as numbers. In the last scene the French are said to be full threescore thousand,