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Killing in rélapse of mortality".

Let me speak proudly;-Tell the Constable,

5 Killing in RELAPSE of mortality.] What it is to kill in relapse of mortality, I do not know. I suspect that it should be read:

"Killing in reliques of mortality."

That is, continuing to kill when they are the reliques that death has left behind it.

That the allusion is, as Mr. Theobald thinks, exceedingly beautiful, I am afraid few readers will discover. The valour of a putrid body, that destroys by the stench, is one of the thoughts that do no great honour to the poet. Perhaps from this putrid valour Dryden might borrow the posthumous empire of Don Sebastian, who was to reign wheresoever his atoms should be scattered. JOHNSON.

By this phrase, however uncouth, Shakspeare seems to mean the same as in the preceding line. Mortality is death. So, in King Henry VI. Part I.:

"I beg mortality

"Rather than life

Relapse may be used for rebound. Shakspeare has given mind of honour for honourable mind; and by the same rule might write relapse of mortality for fatal or mortal rebound; or by relapse of mortality, he may mean-after they had relapsed into inanimation.

This putrid valour is common to the descriptions of other poets, as well as Shakspeare and Dryden, and is predicated to be no less victorious by Lucan, lib. vii. v. 821 :

Quid fugis hanc cladem, quid olentes deseris agros ?

Has trahe, Cæsar, aquas; hoc, si potes, utere cœlo.
Sed tibi tabentes populi Pharsalica rura

Eripiunt, camposque tenent victore fugato.

Corneille has imitated this passage in the first speech in his Pompée :

de chars,

Sur ses champs empestés confusément épars,

Ces montagnes de morts privés d'honneurs suprêmes,
Que la nature force à se venger eux-mêmes,

Et de leurs troncs pourris exhale dans les vents

De quoi faire la guerre au reste des vivans.

Voltaire, in his Letter to the Academy of Belles Lettres, at Paris, opposes the preceding part of this speech to a quotation from Shakspeare. The Frenchman, however, very prudently stopped before he came to the lines which are here quoted.



We are but warriors for the working-day ";
Our gayness and our gilt, are all besmirch'd
With rainy marching in the painful field;
There's not a piece of feather in our host,
(Good argument, I hope, we shall not fly,)
And time hath worn us into slovenry :
But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim:
And my poor soldiers tell me—yet ere night
They'll be in fresher robes; or they will pluck
The gay new coats o'er the French soldiers' heads,
And turn them out of service. If they do this,
(As, if God please, they shall,) my ransom then
Will soon be levied. Herald, save thou thy labour;
Come thou no more for ransom, gentle herald;
They shall have none, I swear, but these my joints:
Which if they have as I will leave 'em to them,
Shall yield them little, tell the Constable.

MONT. I shall, king Harry. And so fare thee well: Thou never shalt hear herald any more. [Exit. K. HEN. I fear, thou'lt once more come again for ransom.

Enter the Duke of YORK.

YORK. My lord, most humbly on my knee I beg The leading of the vaward.

6 warriors for the WORKING-DAY :] We are soldiers but coarsely dressed; we have not on our holiday apparel. JOHNSON. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

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"Pr'ythee, tell her but a worky-day fortune." STEEVENS.

7 our GILT.] i. e. golden show, superficial gilding. Obsolete.

So, in Timon of Athens:

"When thou wast in thy gilt and thy perfume," &c. Again, in Twelfth-Night:

"The double gilt of this opportunity you let time wash off." Again, in Arden of Feversham, 1592:

"And now the rain hath beaten off thy gilt." STEEvens. 8 the Duke of York.] This personage is the same who appears in our author's King Richard II. by the title of Duke of Aumerle. His christian name was Edward. He was the eldest son

K. HEN. Take it, brave York.-Now, soldiers, march away:

And how thou pleasest, God, dispose the day!


The Field of Battle.


Alarums: Excursions. Enter French Soldier, PISTOL, and Boy.

PIST. Yield, cur.

FR. SOL. Je pense, que vous estes le gentilhomme de bonne qualité.

PIST. Quality? Callino, castore me! art thou a gentleman'? What is thy name? discuss'.

of Edmond of Langley, Duke of York, who is introduced in the same play, and who was the fifth son of King Edward III. Richard Earl of Cambridge, who appears in the second Act of this play, was younger brother to this Edward Duke of York. MALONE. 9 Quality, call you me?-Construe me,] The old copy reads ." Qualtitie calmie custure me-." STEEVens. We should read this nonsense thus:


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Quality, cality-construe me, art thou a gentleman? i. e. tell me, let me understand whether thou be'st a gentleman.


Mr. Edwards, in his MS. notes, proposes to read:


Quality, call you me ? construe me," &c. STEEVEns. The alteration proposed by Mr. Edwards has been too hastily adopted. Pistol, who does not understand French, imagines the prisoner to be speaking of his own quality. The line should therefore have been given thus:

"Quality!-calmly; construe me, art thou a gentleman."


The words in the folio (where alone they are found)-' Qualitee calmie custure me,' appeared such nonsense, that some emendation was here a matter of necessity, and accordingly that made by the joint efforts of Dr. Warburton and Mr. Edwards has been adopted in mine and the late editions. But since I have found reason to believe that the old copy is very nearly right, and that a much slighter emendation than that which has been made will suffice. In a book entitled, A Handfull of Plesant Delites, con

FR. SOL. O seigneur Dieu!

PIST. O, signieur Dew should be a gentleman 2:

taining sundrie new Sonets,-newly devised to the newest Tunes, &c. by Clement Robinson and Others, 16mo. 1584, is "A Sonet of a Lover in the Praise of his Lady, to Calen o custure me, sung at every line's end."

"When as I view your comely grace, Calen," &c. Pistol, therefore, we see, is only repeating the burden of an old song, and the words should be undoubtedly printed

"Quality! Calen o custure me. Art thou a gentleman," &c. He elsewhere has quoted the old ballad beginning

"Where is the life that late I led ?"

With what propriety the present words are introduced, it is not necessary to inquire. Pistol is not very scrupulous in his quotations.

It may also be observed, that construe me is not Shakspeare's phraseology, but-construe to me. So, in Twelfth-Night: "I will construe to them whence you come," &c. MALONE.

Construe me, though not the phraseology of our author's more chastised characters, might agree sufficiently with that of Pistol.

Mr. Malone's discovery is a very curious one, and when (as probably will be the case) some further ray of light is thrown on the unintelligible words-Calen, &c. I will be the first to vote them into the text. STEEVENS.


Callino, castore me," is an old Irish song which is preserved in Playford's Musical Companion, 673:

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Perpend my words, O signieur Dew, and mark;O signieur Dew, thou diest on point of fox 3,


Cal-li - no Cal-li-no Cal-li-no Cas-to-re me.


Ee E-va Ee loo loo loo loo lee.


Cal-lino Cal-li-no Cal-li- no Cas - to -re me.

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E-va Ee Eva Ee loo loo loo loo lee.

The words, as I learn from Mr. Finnegan, master of the school established in London for the education of the Irish poor, mean "Little girl of my heart for ever and ever." They have, it is true, no great connection with the poor Frenchman's supplications, nor were they meant to have any. Pistol instead of attending to him, contemptuously hums a song. BOSWELL.

1-discuss.] This affected word is used by Lily, in his Woman in the Moon, 1597:



But first I must discuss this heavenly cloud."


SIGNIEUR DEW should be a GENTLEMAN :] I cannot help thinking, that Shakspeare intended here a stroke at a passage in a famous old book, called The Gentleman's Academie in Hawking, Hunting, and Armorie, written originally by Juliana Barnes, and re-published by Gervase Markham, 1595. The first chapter of the Booke of Armorie is, "the difference 'twixt Churles and Gentlemen ;" and it ends thus: "From the offspring of gentlemanly Japhet came Abraham, Moyses, Aaron, and the Prophets; and also the king of the right line of Mary, of whom that only absolute gentleman, Jesus, was borne :-gentleman, by his mother Mary, princesse of coat armor." FARMER.


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thou diest on point of Fox,] Fox is an old cant word for a sword. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster:

"I made my father's old fox fly about his ears."

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