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Wor. He apprehends a world of figures here,
Hot. I cry you mercy.
Those fame noble Scots,
I'll keep them all; By heaven, he shall not have a Scot of them : No, if a Scot would save his soul, he shall not :
You start away,
shall keep. Hor.
Nay, I will; that's flat:He said, he would not ransom Mortimer; Forbad my tongue to speak of Mortimer; But I will find him when he lies asleep, And in his ear I'll holla-Mortimer! 7
But then, it will be said, “what becomes of fellowship? Where is the fellowship in a fingle face in profile? The allusion must be to the coins of Philip and Mary, where two faces were in part exhibited.”_ This fquaring of our author's comparisons, and making them correspond precisely on every side, is in my apprehenfion the fource of endless mistakes. See p. 412, n. 9. Fellowship relates to Hotspur's “ corrival" and himself, and I think to nothing more.
I find the epithet here applied to it, in Nashe's Apologie of Pierce Pennileffe, 1593:
with all other odd ends of your half-faced English.” Again, in Hiftriomastix, 1610:
“ Whilft I behold yon half-fac’d minion,-,” MALONE. 6 a world of figures here,] Figure is here used equivocally. As it is applied to Hotspur's speech it is a rhetorical mode; as opposed to form, it means appearance or shape. Johnson.
Figures mean shapes created by Hotspur's imagination ; but not the form of what he should attend, viz. of what his uncle had to propose. EDWARDS. 7 He said, he would not ransom Mortimer;
But I will find him when he lies asleep,
And in his ear I'll holla-Mortimer!] So Marlowe, in bis King Edward II:
Hor. All studies here I solemnly defy,8
Wales, — But that I think his father loves him not, And would be glad he met with some mischance, I'd have him poison'd with a pot of ale."
and if he will not ransom him,
I folemnly defy,] One of the ancient senses of the verb, to defy, was to refuse. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“ I do defy thy commiseration.” Steevens. 9 And that same sword-and-buckler prince of Wales,] A royster or turbulent fellow, that fought in taverns, or raised disorders in the streets, was called a Swalh-buckler. In this sense sword-andbuckler is here used. JOHNSON.
Stowe will keep us to the precise meaning of the epithet here given to the prince.—“ This field, commonly called Weft-Smithfield, was for many years called Ruffians Hall, by reason it was the usual place of frayes and common fighting, during the time that sword and bucklers were in use. When every serving-man, from the base to the best, carried a buckler at his back, which hung by the hilt or pomel of his sword.” Henley.
I have now before me (to confirm the justice of this remark) a poem entitled “ Sword and Buckler, or Serving Man's Defence," By William Bas, 1602. Steevens.
“ What weapons bear they !-Some sword and dagger, some sword and buckler.—What weapon is that buckler ?-A clownish daftardly weapon, and not fit for a gentleman.” Florio's Firs Fruites, 1578. MALONE.
- poison’d with a pot of ale.] Dr. Grey supposes this to be said in allufion to Caxton's Account of King John's Death; (see Caxton's Fructus Temporum, 1515, fol. 62.) but I rather think it
Wor. Farewell, kinsman! I will talk to you, When you are better temper'd to attend. North. Why, what a wasp-ftung and impatient
has reference to the low company (drinkers of ale) with whom the prince spent so much of his time in the meaneft taverns.
STEEVENS. 3 Why, what a wasp-ftung and impatient fool-) Thus the quarto, 1598; and surely it affords a more obvious meaning than the folio, which reads: — wasp-tongued. That Shakspeare knew the sting of a wasp was not situated in its mouth, may be learned from the following passage in The Winter's Tale, A& I. sc. ii:
is goads, thorns, nettles, tails of wasps.” STEEVENS. This reading is confirmed by Hotspur's reply:
“ Why look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd with rods, “ Nettled and ftung with pismires, when I hear
“ Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke.” M. Mason. The first quarto copies of several of these plays are in many respects much preferable to the folio, and in general I have paid the utmost attention to them. In the present instance, however, I think the transcriber's ear deceived him, and that the true reading is that of the second quarto, 1599, wasp-tongue, which I have adopted, not on the authority of that copy, (for it has none,) but because I believe it to have been the word used by the author. The folio was apparently printed from a later quarto, and the editor from ignorance of our author's phraseology changed wasp-tongue to wasptongued. There are other instances of the fame unwarrantable alterations even in that valuable copy of our author's plays. The change, I say, was made from ignorance of Shakspeare's phraseology; for in King Richard III. we have—his venom-tooth, not venom'dtooth; your widow-dolour, not widow'd-dolour; and in another play,--parted with sugar-breath, not jugar'd-breath; and many more instances of the same kind may be found. Thus, in this play, -smooth-tongue, not smooth-tongued. Again : “ – stolen from my hoft at St. Alban's, or the red-noje innkeeper of Daintry." [not red-nofed.] Again, in King Richard III:
“ Some light-foot friend post to the Duke of Norfolk." not light-footed.
So also, in The Black Book, 4to. 1604: “ - The Spindle-fhanke spyder, which showed like great leachers with little legs, went stealing over his head," &c. In the last act of The Second Part of King Henry IV. “ blew-bottle rogue” (the reading of the quarto) is changed by the editor of the folio to “ blew-bottled rogue,” as he here substituted wasp-tongued for wasp-tongue.
Art thou, to break into this woman's mood;
Shakspeare certainly knew, as Mr. Steevens has observed, that the fting of a wasp lay in his tail; nor is there in my apprehension any thing couched under the epithet wasp-tongue, inconlistent with that knowledge. It means only, having a tongue as peevish and mischievous (if such terms may be applied to that instrument of the mind) as a wasp. Thus, in As you Like it, waspish is used without any particular reference to any action of a wasp, but merely as synonymous to peevish or fretful:
“ By the stern brow and waspish action
“ It bears an angry tenour.”
“ Her waspish-beaded lon has broke his arrows," the meaning is perfeAtly clear; yet the objection that Shakspeare knew the sting of a wasp was in his tail, not in his head, might, I conceive, be made with equal force, there, as on the present occafion.
Though this note has run out to an unreasonable length, I must add a passage in The Taming of the Shrew; which, while it shows that our author knew the sting of a wasp was really fituated in its tail, proves at the same time that he thought it might with propriety be applied metaphorically to the tongue :
“ Pet. Come, come, you wasp; i'faith you are too angry.
the fool could find out where it lies.
“ Cath. In his tongue,
“ Cath. Yours, if you talk of tails," &c. This passage appears to me fully to justify the reading that I have chosen. Independent however of all authority, or reference to other passages, it is supported by the context here. A person ftung by a wasp would not be very likely to claim all the talk to himself, as Hotspur is described to do, but rather in the agony of pain to implore the assistance of those about him; whereas « the wasp-tongue
well be supposed to “ break into a woman's mood,” and to listen “ to no tongue but his own.”
Mr. M. Mason thinks that the words afterwards used by Hotspur are decisively in favour of wasp-ftung, ---" Nettled and sung with pismires;” but Hotspur uses that expresion to mark the poignancy
Hor. Why, look you, I am whipp'd and scourg'd
with rods, Nettled, and stung with pismires, when I hear Of this vile politician, Bolingbroke. In Richard's time,-What do you call the place?A plague upon’t !—it is in Glocestershire;'Twas where the mad-cap duke his uncle kept; His uncle York;—where I first bow'd my knee Unto this king of smiles, this Bolingbroke, When you and he came back from Ravenspurg.
North. At Berkley castle.
Hor. You say true : Why, what a candy deal of courtesy This fawning greyhound then did proffer me! Look,—when bis infant fortune came to age, And, -gentle Harry Percy,—and, kind cousin,O, the devil take such cozeners! O- -God forgive
me ! Good uncle, tell your tale, for I have done.
of his own feelings; Northumberland uses the term wafp-tongue to denote the irritability of his son's temper, and the petulance of his language. MALONE.
I may seem to be overlaid by the foregoing note, but do not think myself defeated. The reader's patience, however, shall be no further exercised on the present occafion. Steevens.
4 - what a candy deal of courtesy-] i.e. what a deal of candy courtesy. Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-candy'd, without necessity. See also K. Richard III:
Grossly grew captive to his honey words.” not honey'd words. See the last note. Malone.
- infant fortune came to age,] Alluding to what passed in King Richard, Act II. sc. iii. JOHNSON.
-the devil take such cozeners!] The same jingle occurs in Two Tragedies in One, &c. 1601 :
“Come pretty cousin, cozened by grim death." Again, in Monsieur Thomas, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
cousin, “ Cozen thyself no more.” Again, in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :
“ To see my cousin cozen'd in this fort.” STEEVENS.