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Mordake the earl of Fife", and eldest son
Weft. 'Faith, 'tis a conquest for a prince to boast of.
mak'ft me fin
5 Mordake the earl of Fife, and eldest for
-and Menteith.] This is a mistake of Holinshed in his English History, for in that of Scotland, p. 259, 262, and 419, he speaks of the earl of Fife and Menteith as one and the same person.
TEEVENS. Vol. V.
Of this young Percy's pride ? ? the prisoners,
West. This is his uncle's teaching, this is Worcester, Malevolent to you in all aspects;
Which makes hiin prune himself, and bristle up The crest of youth against your dignity.
K. Henry. But I have sent for him to answer this; And, for this cause, a while we must neglect
1 the prifoners,] Percy had an exclusive right to these prisoners, except the earl of Fife. By the law of arms, every man who had taken any captive, whose redemption did not exceed ten thousand crowns, had him clearly for himself, either to acquit or ransom, at his pleasure. It seems from Camden's Brit. that Pounouny-castle in Scotland was built out of the ransom of this very Henry Percy, when taken prisoner at the battle of Otterbourne by an ancestor of the present earl of Eglington. TOLLBT.
Percy could not refuse the earl of Fite to the king ; for being a prince of the blood royal, (son to the duke of Albany, brother to king Robert III.) Henry might justly claim him by his acknowledged military prerogative. Steevens.
Which makes him prune himself, ] Doubtless Shakespeare wrote plume. And to this the Oxford editor gives his fiat.
WARBURTON. I am not so confident as those two editors. The metaphor is taken from a cock, who in his pride prunes himself; that is, picks off the loose feathers to smooth the rest. To prune and to plume, fpoken of a bird, is the fame. JOHNSON.
Dr. Johnson is certainly right in his choice of the reading. So, in Albumazar, 1615 :
- prune yourself fleek.” Again, in the Cobler's Prophecy, 1594 :
“ Sith now thou doft but prune thy wings,
". And make thy feathers gay. Again, in Green's Metamorphosis, 1613:
“ Pride makes the fowl to prune his feathers fo." But I ain not certain that the verb to prune is juftly interpretedo In the Booke of Haukynge &c. (commonly called the Booke of St. Albans) is the following account of it: “The hauke proineth when the fetcheth oyle with her beake over the taile, and anointeth her feet and her fethers. She plumeth when the pulleth fethers of anie foule and caiteth them froin her." STEEVENS.
Our holy purpose to Jerusalem.
An apartment belonging to the prince.
P. Henry. Thou art fo fat-witted, with drinking of old sack, and unbuttoning thee after supper, and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten 'to deinand that truly which thou would't truly know. What a devil haft thou to do with the time of the day? unless hours were cups of sack, and minutes capons, and clocks the tongues of bawds, and dials the figns of leaping-houses, and the blessed fun himself a fair hot wench in flame-colour'd taffata; I see no reason, why thou should'st be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
Fal. Indeed, you come near me now, Hal : for
9 Tban out of anger can be uttered.] That is, “ More is to be said than anger will suffer me to say : more than can issue from a mind disturbed like mine." Johnson.
3 -- to demand that truly which thou would's truly know. ] The prince's objection to the question seems to be, that Falstaff had alked in the night what was the time of day. JOHNSON.
This cannot be well received as the objection of the prince; for presently after, the prince himself fays: “Good morrow, Ned," and Poins replies: “Good morrow, sweet lad." The truth may be, that when Shakespeare makes the Prince with Poins a good morrow, he had forgot that the scene commenced at night.
'we, that take purses, go by the moon and seven stars; and not by Phæbus,-he, that wandring knight so fair. And, I pray thee, sweet wag, when thou art king, as, God save thy grace, (majesty, I should say; for grace thou wilt have none.)
P. Henry. What! none?
Fal. No, by my troth; not so much as will serye to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P. Henry. Well, how then ? come, roundly, roundly.
Fal. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, a let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be call'd thieves of the day's beauty; let us be—Diana's foresters, gentlemen of the shade, minions of the moon : And let men say, we be men of good government; being govern'd as the sea is, by our noble and chaste mistress the moon, under whose countenance westeal.
P. Henry. Thou say'st well; and it holds well too : for the fortune of us, that are the moon's men, doth ebb and flow like the sea; being govern’d as the sea
-let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be called thicves of the day's beauty:] This conveys no manner of idea to me. How could they be called thieves of the day's beauty? They robbed by moonshine; they could not steal the fair day-light. I have ventured to substitute booty : and this I take to be the meaning. Let us not be called thieves, the purloiners of that booty, which, to the proprietors, was the purchałe of honest labour and industry by day. THEOBALD.
It is true, as Theobald has observed, that they could not steal the fair day-light; but I believe our poet by the expression, thieves of the day's beauty, meant only, let not us, who are body Squires to the night, i.e. adorn the night, be called a disgrace to the day, "To take away the beauty of the day, may probably mean, to disgrace it. A squire of the body fignified originally, the attendant on a knight; the person who bore his head-piece, spear, and shield. It became afterwards the cant term for a pimp; and is so used in the fecond part of Decker's Hour) II Wore, 1630. Again, in the Witry Fair One, 1633, for a procurets:
" Here comes the squire of her mittress's bodly." STEEVENS.
is, by the moon. As, for proof, now : A purse of gold most resolutely snatch'd on Monday night, and most dissolutely spent on Tuesday morning ; ' got with swearing-lay by; and spent with crying-bring in : now, in as low an ebb as the foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
Fal. By the lord, thou say'st true, lad. 4 And is not my
hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench? P. Henry. S As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of
got with frearing-lay by ;-) i. e. swearing at the passengers they robbed, lay by your arms; or rather, lay by was a phrase that then fignified stand still, addressed to those who were preparing to rush forward. But the Oxford editor kindly accommodates these old thieves with a new cant phrase, taken from Bagshot-heath or Finchly-common, of lug out. WARBURTON.
And is not mine hoftefs of the tavern &c.] We meet with the same kind of humour as is contained in this and the three following speeches, in the Moftellaria of Plautus, act I. sc. ii.
Jampridem ecaftor frigidâ non lavi magis lubenter,
* Nec unde me melius, mea Scapha, rear esse defæcatam. Sca. “ Eventus rebus omnibus, velut horno messis magna fuit. Phi. “ Quid ea mellis attinet ad meam lavationem ? Sca. “ Nihilo plus, quam lavatio tua ad meflim.”
In the want of connection to what went before, probably confifts the humour of the prince's question. Steevens.
This kind of humour is often met with in old plays. In the Gallathea of Lilly, Phillida says: “ It is a pittie that nature framed you not a woman.
" Gall. There is a tree in Tylos, &c.
" Phill. What a toy it is to tell me of that tree, being nothing to the purpose, &c." Ben Jonson calls it a game at vapours. FARMER.
As the boney of Hybla, my old lad of the castle:-) Mr. Rowe took notice of a tradition, that this part
of Falstaff was written originally under the name of Oldcaitle. An ingenious correspondent hints to me, that the passage above quoted from our author, proves what Mr. Rowe tells us was a tradition. Old lad of the caftle seems to have a reference to Oldcastle. Besides, if this had not been the fact, why, in the epilogue to The Second Part of Henry IV, where our author promises to continue his story with fir John in it, should he say: " Where, for any thing I know, Falstaff fall die of a sweat, unless already he be killed with your hard