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king,—as, God save thy grace, (majesty, I should say; for grace thou wilt have none,)
P. Hen. What! none?
Fal. No, by my troth; not so much as will serve to be prologue to an egg and butter.
P. Hen. Well, how then? come, roundly, roundly.
Fal. Marry, then, sweet wag, when thou art king, 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,
gotten ballad on the subject of this marvellous hero's adventures. In Peele's Old Wives Tale, Com. 1595, Eumenides, the wandering knight, is a character. Steevens.
let not us, that are squires of the night's body, be callid thieves 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 purchase of honest labour and industry by day. THEOBALD.
It is true, as Mr. Theobald has observed, that they could not steal the fair day.light; but I believe our poet by the expression, thieves of ihe 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 second part of Decker's Honeft IV hore, 1630. Again, in The Witty Fair One, 1633, for a procuress : “ Here comes the squire of her mistress's body.”
Falstaff however puns on the word knight. See the Curialia of Samuel Pegge, Esq. Part I. p. 100. Steevens.
There is also, I have no doubt, a pun on the word beauty, which in the western counties is pronounced nearly in the same manner as booty. See K. Henry VI, Part III:
“ So triumph thieves upon their conquer'd booty." MALONE. 8 Diana's foresters, &c.]
• Exile and Nander are justly mee awarded,
My wife and heire lacke lands and lawful right; “ And me their lord made danie Diana's knighi.”
minions of the r of good govern by our noble an whose countenai
P. Hen. Thou for the fortune doth ebb and flo the sea is, by th purse of gold mun se
vis srovirung night, and most diffolutely pent on Tuesday mornXI. Ling; got with swearing-lay by ;' and spent with
crying—bring in :now, in as low an ebb as the 3. foot of the ladder; and, by and by, in as high a flow as the ridge of the gallows.
FAL. By the Lord, thou fay'st true, lad. And is not my hostess of the tavern a most fweet wench?:
So lamenteth Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, in The Mirror for Magiftrates. HENDERSON.
We learn from Hall, that certain persons who appeared as forefters in a pageant exhibited in the reign of King Henry VIII. were called Diana's knights. Malone.
got with swearing_lay by;] i. e. swearing at the pallengers they robbed, lay by your arms; or rather, lay by was a phrase that then fignified stand fill, 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 Finchley-common, of lug out. WARBURTON.
To lay by, is a phrase adopted from navigation, and signifies, by Nackening fail to become itationary. It occurs again in King Henry Vill:
“ Even the billows of the sea
Hung their heads, and then lay by." Steevens. and spent with crying, bring in :) i. e. more wine.
MALONE. And is not my hostess 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, A& I. sc. ii:
• Jampridem ecaltor frigidâ non lavi magis lubenter,
“ Nec unde me melius, mea Scapha, rear elle defæcatam, Vol. VIII.
P. Hen. As the honey of Hybla, my old lad of the castle. And is not a buff jerkin a moft sweet robe of durance?
Sca.“ Eventus rebus omnibus, velut horno meslis magna fuit.
In the want of connection to what went before, probably consists the humour of the Prince's question. Steevens.
This kind of humour is often met with in old plays. In The Gallathea of Lyly, 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.
4 As the honey 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 Oldcastle. 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 castle seems to have a reference to Oldcattle. 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 Sir John in it, should he say, “ Where, for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat, unless already he be killed with your hard opinions: for Oldcastle died a martyr, and this is not the man." This looks like declining a point that had been made an objection to him. I'll give a farther matter in proof, which seems almost to fix the charge. I have read an old play, called, The famous Victories of Henry the Fifth, containing the honourable battle of Agincourt. The action of this piece commences about the 14th year of K. Henry the Fourth's reign, and ends with Henry the Fifth's marrying Princess Catharine of France. The scene opens with Prince Henry's robberies. Sir John Oldcastle is one of the gang, and called Jockie; and Ned and Gadshill are two other comrades.-From this old imperfect sketch, I have a fufpicion, Shak. speare might form his two parts of Henry IV. and his hiftory of Henry V.; and consequently it is not improbable, that he might continue the mention of Sir John Oldcastle, till some descendant of that family moved Queen Elizabeth to command him to change he name.
- my old lad of the castle.] This alludes to the name Shakspeare first gave to this buffoon character, which was Sir John Oldcaitle; and when he changed the name he forgot to strike out
FAL. How now, how now, mad wag? what, in thy quips, and thy quiddities? what a plague have I to do with a buff jerkin?
this expression that alluded to it. The reason of the change was this; one Sir John Oldcastle having suffered in the time of Henry the Fifth for the opinions of Wickliffe, it gave offence, and therefore the altered it to Falstaff, and endeavours to remove the scandal in the epilogue to The Second Part of Henry IV. Fuller takes notice of this matter in his Church History :-“ Stage-poets have themselves been very bold with, and others very merry at, the memory of fir John Oldcastle, whom they have fancied a boon companion, a jovial royster, and a coward to boot. The best is, fir John Falitaff hath relieved the memory of fir John Oldcastle, and of late is substituted buffoon in his place.” Book IV. p. 168. But, to be candid, I believe there was no malice in the matter. Shakspeare wanted a droll name to his character, and never confidered whom it belonged to. We have a like instance in The Merry Wives of Windsor, where he calls his French quack, Caius, a name at that time very respectable, as belonging to an eminent and learned physician, one of the founders of Caius College in Cambridge. WARBURTON.
The propriety of this note the reader will find contested at the beginning of K. Henry V. Sir John Oldcastle was not a character ever introduced by Shakspeare, nor did he ever occupy the place of Falstaff. The play in which Oldcastle's name occurs, was not the work of our poet.
Old lad is likewise a familiar compellation to be found in some of our most ancient dramatick pieces. So, in The Trial of Treasure, 1567: “ What, Inclination, old lad art thou there?" In the dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, &c. by T. Nash, 1598, old Dick of the castle is mentioned.
Again, in Pierce's Supererogation, or a New Prais of the Old Afe, 1593 : “ And here's a luity ladd of the caftell, that will binde beares, and ride golden asses to death.” SteeVENS.
Old lad of the castle, is the fame with Old lad of Caftile, a Castilian, Meres reckons Oliver of the castle amongst his romances: and Gabriel Harvey tells us of • Old lads of the castell with their rapping babble.”-roaring boys. This is therefore no argument for Falstaff's appearing firit under the name of Oldcaftle. There is however a passage in a play called Amends for Ladies, by Field the player, 1618, which may seem to prove it, unless he confounded the different performances :
P. Hen. Why, what a pox have I to do with my hostess of the tavern?
you never see
FARMER. Fuller, besides the words cited in the note, has in his Worthies, p. 253, the following paffage : “Sir John Oldcaftle was first made a thrasonical puff, an emblem of mock valour, a make-sport in all plays, for a coward.” Speed, likewise, in his Chronicle, edit. 2. p. 178, says:
“ The author of The Three Conversions (i. e. Parsons the fesait), hath made Oldeaftle a ruffian, a robber, and a rebel, and his authority, taken from the stage players, is more befitting the pen of his Nanderous report, than the credit of the judicious, being only grounded from the papist and the poet, of like conscience for lies, the one ever feigning, and the other ever fal. fifying the truth.” Ritson.
From the following passage in The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinaire, or the Walkes in Powles, quarto, 1604, it appears that Sir John Oldcastle was represented on the stage as a very fat man (certainly not in the play printed with that title in 1600) : — Now, signiors, how like you mine hoft? did I not tell you he was a inadde round knave and a merrie one too? and if you chaunce to talke of fatte Sir John Oldcastle, he will tell you, he was his great grand-father, and not much unlike him in paunch.”—The hoft, who is here described, returns to the gallants, and entertains them with telling them stories. After his first tale, he says: “ Nay gallants, I'll fit you, and now I will serve in another, as good as vinegar and pepper to your roast beefe."-Signor Kickshawe replies: “ Let's have it, let's taste on it, mine hoft, my noble far altor."
The cause of all the confusion relative to these two characters, and of the tradition mentioned by Mr. Rowe, that our author changed the name from Oldcastle io Falstaff, (to which I do not give the smallest credit,) seems to have been this. Shakspeare appears evidently to have caught the idea of the character of Falstaff from a wretched play entitled The famous Victories of King Henry V. (which had been exhibited before 1589,) in which Henry Prince of Wales is a principal character. He is accompanied in his revels and his robberies by Sir John Oldcaftle, (“ a pamper'd glutton, and a debauchee,” as he is called in a piece of that age,) who appears to be the character alluded to in the passage above quoted from The Meeting of Gallants, &c. To this character undoubtedly it is that