« AnteriorContinuar »
Eva. Pauca verba, sir John, good worts.
Fal. Good worts! good cabbage.2-Slender, I broke your head; What matter have you against me?
Slen. Marry, sir, I have matter in my head against you; and against your coney-catching rascals, 3 Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. They carried me to the tavern, and made me drunk, and afterwards picked my pocket.4
Bard. You Banbury cheese! 5
and counsel. The latter signifies secrecy. So, in Hamlet:
“ The players cannot keep counsel, they 'll tell all." Falstaff's meaning seems to be—'twere better for you if it were known only in secrecy, i. e. among your friends. A more public complaint would subject you to ridicule. Steevens.
Mr. Ritson supposes the present reading to be just, and quite in Falstaff's insolent sneering manner.
“ It would be much better, indeed, to have it known in the council, where you would only be laughed at.” Reed.
“Mum is Counsell, viz. silence,” is among Howel's Proverbial Sentences. See his Dict. folio, 1660. Malone.
2 Good worts! good cabbage.] Worts was the ancient name of all the cabbage kind. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentinian:
“ Planting of worts and onions, any thing." Again, in Tho. Lupton's. Seventh Booke of Notable Thinges, 4to. bl. 1. “
then anoint the burned place therwith, and lay a woort leafe upon it,” &c. Steevens.
coney-catching rascals,] A coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper. Green, one of the first among us, who made a trade of writing pamphlets, published A Detection of the Frauds and Tricks of Coneyeatchers and Couzeners. Fohnson. So, in Decker's Satiromastix:
“ Thou shalt not cone;-catch me for five pounds.” Steevens. 4 They carried me, &c.] These words, which are necessary to introduce what Falstaff says afterwards, [“ Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse ?”] I have restored from the early quarto. Of this circumstance, as the play is exhibited in the folio, sir John could have no knowledge. Malone.
We might suppose that Falstaff was already acquainted with this robbery, and had received his share of it, as in the case of the handle of mistress Bridget's fan, Act II, sc. ii. His question, therefore, my be said to arise at once from conscious guilt and pretended ignorance. I have, however, adopted Mr. Malone's restoration. Steevens.
5 You Banbury cheese!] This is said, in allusion to the thin carcass of Slender. The same thought occurs in Fack Drum's
Slen. Ay, it is no matter.
Eva. Peace: I pray you! Now let us understand: There is three umpires in this matter, as I understand: that is master Page, fidelicet, master Page; and there is myself, fidelicet, myself; and the three party is, lastly and finally, mine host of the Garter.
Page. We three, to hear it, and end it between them. Eva. Fery goot: I will make a prief of it in my note
Entertainment, 1601. “Put off your clothes, and you are like a Banbury cheese,-nothing but paring.” Só Heywood, in his collection of epigrams:
“ I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough, “But I have oft seen Essex cheese quick enough.” Steevens.
6 How now, Mephostophilus?] This is the name of a spirit or familiar, in the old story book of Sir John Faustus or Fohn Faust: to whom our author afterwards alludes, Act II, sc. ii. That it was a cant phrase of abuse, appears from the old comedy cited above, called a pleasant Comedy of the Gentle Craft, Signat. H 3. “ Away you Íslington whitepot; hence you hopper-arse, you barley-pudding full of maggots, you broiled carbonado: avaunt, avaunt, Mephostophilus."
In the same vein, Bardolph here also calls Slender, “ You Banbury cheese!” T. Wurton.
Pistol means to call Slender a very ugly fellow. So, in Nosce te, (Humors) by Richard Turner, 1607:
“O face, no face hath our Theophilus,
“ To play the Devil i’ the vault without a vizard.” Steevens. 7 Slice, I say! pauca, pauca ;] Dr. Farmer (see a former note, p. 11, n. 8,) would transfer the Latin words to Evans. But the oll copy, I think, is right. Pistol, in K. Henry V, uses the same language:
I will hold the quondam Quickly “For the only she; and pauca, there's enough." In the same scene Nym twice uses the word solus. Malone.
that 's my humour.] So, in an ancient MS. play, entitled The Second Maiden's Tragedy:
I love not to disquiet ghosts, sir, “Of any people living; that's my humour, sir.” See a following note, Act II, sc, i. Steevens.
book; and we will afterwards 'ork upon the cause, with as great discreetly as we can.
Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrase is this,' He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations.
Ful. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?
Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else) of seven groats in mill-sixpences, 1 and two Edward shovelboards,2 that cost me two shilling and two pence a-piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.
what phrase is this, &c.] Sir Hugh is justified in his censure of this passage by Peacham, who in his Garden of Eloquence, 1577, places this very mode of expression under the article Pleonasmus. Henderson.
mill-sixpenres,] It appears from a passage in Sir William Davenant's Neves from Plimouth, that these mill-sixpences were used by way of counters to cast up money:
A few milld sixpences, with which “ My purser casts accompt.” Steevens.
Eilward shovel-boards,] One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611: away slid I my man, like a shovel-board shilling,” &c.
Steevens. “ Edward shovel-boards,” were the broad shillings of Elw.VI.Taylor, the water-poet, in his Trauel of Twelve-pence, makes him complain :
the unthrift every day
They had worne it off, as they have done my nose.” And in a note he tells us: “Edw. shillings for the most part are used at shoave-board.” Farmer.
In the Second Part of K. Henry IV, Falstaff says, “Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shore-groat shilling.” This confirms Farmer's opinion, that pieces of coin were used for that purpose.
M. Mason. It appears, that the game of shovel-board was played with the shillings of Edward VI, in Shadwell's time; for in his Miser, Act II1, sc. i, Cheatly says, “ She persuaded him to play with hazard at backgammon, and he has already lost his Edward shillings that he kept for Shovel-board, and was pulling out broad pieces (that have not seen the sun these many years) when I came away.”
In Shadwell's Lancashire Witches, Vol. III, p. 232, the game is alled Shufle-board. It is still played; and I lately heard a man
Fal. Is this true, Pistol?
ask another to go into an alehouse in the Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, to play at it. Douce.
That Slender means the broad shilling of one of our kings, appears from comparing these words with the corresponding passage in the old quarto: “Ay by this handkerchief did he ;-two faire shovel-board shillings, besides seven groats in mill six-pences."
How twenty-eight pence could be lost in mill-sixpences, Slender, however, has not explained to us. Malone.
* Eva. No; it is false, if it is a pick purse.] i. e. if Pistol is a pick purse, Pistol is not a true man. This quibble, on the word true, has been previously noticed. Am. Ed.
3 I combat challenge of this latten bilbo :] Pistol, seeing Slender such a slim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as thin asa plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which was, as we are told, the old orichalc. Theobald.
Latten is a mixed metal, made of copper and calamine. Malone.
The sarcasm intended is, that Slender had neither courage nor trength, as a latten sword has neither edge nor substance. Heath.
Latten may signify no more than as thin as a lath. The word in some counties is still pronounced as if there was no h in it: and Ray, in his Dictionary of North Country Words, affirms it to be spelt lat in the North of England.
Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out of his kingdom with a dagger of lath. A latten bilboe means there. fore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath-a vice's dagger.
Theobald, however, is right in his assertion that latten was a metal. So Turbervile, in his book of Falconry, 1575: “
- you must set her a latten bason, or a vessel of stone or earth.” Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600: “Whether it were lead or latten that hasp'd down those winking easements, I know not.” Again, in the old metrical Romance of Syr Bevis of Hampton, bl. 1. no date :
“ Windowes of latin were set with glasse.” Latten is still a common word for tin in the North. Steevens.
I believe Theobald has given the true sense of latten, though he is wrong in supposing, that the allusion is to Slender's thinness. It is rather to his softness or weakness. Tyrwhitt.
4 Word of denial in thy labras here;] I suppose it should rather be read:
“Word of denial in my labras hear;" That is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou ly'st. Johnson.
Word of denial: froth and scum, thou liest.
Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.
Nym. Be advised, sir, and pass good humours: I will say, marry trap,5 with you, if you run the nuthook's humourö on me; that is the very note of it.
Slen. By this hat, then he in the red face had it: for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass
Fal. What say you, Scarlet and John ??
Bard. Why, sir, for my part, I say,'the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.
Eva. It is his five senses: fie, what the ignorance is! Bard. And being fap, 8 sir, was, as they say, cashier'd;
We often talk of giving the lie in a man's teeth, or in his throat. Pistol chooses to throw the word of denial in the lips of his adversary, and is supposed to point to them as he speaks. Steevens.
marry trap,] When a man was caught in his own stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was-marry, trap!
Fohnson - nuthook's humour -] Nuthook is the reading of the folio. . The quarto reads, base humour.
If you run the nuthook's humour on me, is, in plain English, if you say I am a thief. Enough is said on the subject of hooking moveables out at windows, in a note on K. Henry IV. Steevens.
Scarlet and John.?] The names of two of Robin Hood's companions ; but the humour consists in the allusion to Bardolph's red face; concerning which, see The Second Part of Henry IV.
Warburton. 8 And being fap,] I know not the exact meaning of this cant word, neither have I met with it in any of our old dramatic pieces, which have often proved the best comments on Shakspeare's vul. garisms.
Dr. Farmer, indeed, observes, that to fib is to beat; so that being fap may mean being beaten; and cashiered, turned out of company. Steevens.
The word fap, is probably made from vappa, a drunken fellow, or a good-for-nothing fellow, whose virtues are all exhaled. Slender, in his answer, seems to understand that Bardolph had made use of a Latin word: “Ay, you spake in Latin then too;" as Pistol had just before. S. W.
It is not probable that any cant term is from the Latin; nor that the word in question was so derived, because Slender mistook it for Latin. The mistake, indeed, is an argument to the contrary, as it shows his ignorance in that language. Fap, however, certainly means drunk, as appears from the glossaries. Doucc.