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blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.”
“ Cold for action!” i. e. For want-of action, or waiting-for action. It is an odd expression. “For inaction,” i. e. by reason of inaction, would be more intelligible. 303. “They have a king, &c.”
The sovereign bee is called the queen, but king is put generally here for one exercising the supreme authority, and so the word is used by Lord Verulam :-"Ferdinando and Isabella, kings of Spain.”
Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the
Seuenth. Edit. 1629 305.“ Delivering o’er to executors pale.”
The accent, as it here rests upon “ éxécutors,” seems intended to distinguish it from exécătors, the agents of a testator, as the word stands in the fourth act of this play: “And their exécŭtors, the knavish crows." 306. “Without defeat.”—
“ Defect,” the word in the quarto, is, perhaps, the right one:-“Without defect or inefficiency, on account of the difference of their operations.
“ Not worship'd with a waxen epitaph.” A“ waxen epitaph,” I believe, means merely a monumental record; even that “ frail memorial” shall be wanting. Henry's ambition, which grasped at a more durable renown than sculpture or heraldry could confer, “ monumentum are perennius,” would contemplate the perishable sub
stance of even brass or marble, as only wax or paper. 310. “ How he comes o’er us," &c.
How he banters us. The phrase, in low language, is not obsolete. 311. “ Living hence."
Dr. Warburton appears to be right in his con. ception of this passage. “I never valued (says the king) this petty possession, England ; my mind was always bent on France, which I considered as my home, and proper seat of empire; and, regarding myself here only as a visitor, I scrupled not to lay-aside my formal grandeur, and to indulge, without restraint, in levity and amusements."
316. “ And by their hands the grace of kings.
must die." I cannot recognise the absence of meaning that Dr. Johnson complains of in these lines : the chorus tells us, “ the conspirators are bribed by France, and that, by their hands, if hell hold its purpose, the king must die before he takeship, and at Southampton.”_" Have a little patience, (proceeds the chorus) and make due allowance for the violent changes of time and place which we are forced to use in the conduct of this play. Suppose the price of treason to have been
paid, the plan of execution agreed upon, and the king having set off from London--and now imagine the scene to be at Southampton.”
320. “ It will toast cheese."
Butler, I believe, remembered Nym's sword, in his description of Hudibras's dagger :
“ It would scrape trenchers, or chip bread,
LORD CHEDWORTH. “When I cannot live any longer, I will do as I .
may.” Mr. M. Mason would read “ die as I may :" but he seems to forget the language and character of Nym, whose idiom is that in the text. 326. “ Thy nasty mouth!”
" Messful,” the word in the quarto, is, I believe, right, according to Pistol's phraseology: “ Thy glutton's mouth, which contains at once as much as would make a meal or mess for a moderate feeder.”
SCENE II. 337. “ Devils, that suggest.”
“ Suggest” is “prompt,” “ instigate,” as in Othello : “ When devils do their blackest sins put on, " They do suggest at first, with heavenly shews."
" - Temper'd thee.” Made thee fit to be wrought-upon ; fit to receive the designed impression. The allusion seems to be to the act of softening wax. N. Lee, in the Massacre of Paris, writes : “See how she tempers him between her fingers.” 338. “ O how hast thou with jealousy infected
“ The sweetness of affiance !" ." Jealousy,” here, is doubt, suspicion. A si. milar sentiment occurs in Much Ado About Nothing : “For thee I lock-up all the gates of love, “And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang, " To turn all thoughts of beauty into harm, “And never shall it more be gracious.”
ACT III. SCENE II.
372. “ Be merciful, great duke.”
Great duke, I believe, is no more than a fanciful compellation of Pistol's. The pains which some of the editors take to translate Pistol's bombast into sober sense, appears to me very curious.
LORD CHEDWORTH. “ Be merciful, great duke, to men of mould !”
i. e. Says Dr. Johnson, to men of earth, poor mortal men. To this explanation, I believe, the above remark of Lord Chedworth's will apply. Pistol's accuracy of language was not equal to
Dr. Johnson's; and by men of mould, I suppose he only meant “ men of condition, men of that superior stamp which Pistol would assume.”
379. “ As send precepts to the Leviathan.”
This accentuation of precépts is quite obsolete, if it ever prevailed; the word, in its forensic, as well as moral sense, having the accent on the first syllable.
“ Deadly murder." Shakspeare seldom wastes an epithet ; “ deadly” is, indeed, a strong word, but applied to murder, it is superfluous. The quarto does not exhibit the passage at all : but what says the copy of the best subsequent authority? The first folio reads “ headly;" and does not this, with the bare extrusion of a careless letter, supply the true sense, “ heady murder," the impetuous and ungovernable havoc of soldiers in a storm. Thus in King Henry IV. Lady Percy talks of “the tumult of a heady fight." I find now that this became Mr. Steevens's opinion.
SCENE VI. 404. “Who, when they were in health,
“ I thought,” &c. This is a broken sentence, and should so be pointed :
“ Who, when they were in health
“ I thought,” &c. The quarto reads, I think with advantage, heart."