Imágenes de páginas

Enter the Lord Chief Justice, and an Attendant.

PAGE. Sir, here comes the nobleman that committed the prince for striking him about Bardolph. FAL. Wait close, I will not see him.

CH. JUST. What's he that goes there? ATTEN. Falstaff, an't please your lordship. CH. JUST. He that was in question for the robbery?

ATTEN. He, my lord: but he hath since done good service at Shrewsbury; and, as I hear, is now going with some charge to the lord John of Lan


CH. JUST. What, to York? Call him back again. ATTEN. Sir John Falstaff!

FAL. Boy, tell him, I am deaf.

PAGE. You must speak louder, my master is deaf.

CH. JUST. I am sure, he is, to the hearing of any thing good.-Go, pluck him by the elbow; I must speak with him.

James I.] says Osborne, in his Memoirs of that monarch," and did so continue till these, [the interregnum,] for the principal gentry, lords, courtiers, and men of all professions, not merely mechanicks, to meet in St. Paul's church by eleven, and walk in the middle isle till twelve, and after dinner from three to six; during which time some discoursed of business, others of news. Now, in regard of the universal commerce there happened little that did not first or last arrive here." MALONE.

2 Lord Chief Justice,] This judge was Sir Wm. Gascoigne, Chief Justice of the King's Bench. He died December 17, 1413, and was buried in Harwood church, in Yorkshire. His effigy, in judicial robes, is on his monument. STEEVENS.

His portrait, copied from the monument, may be found in The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LI. p. 516. MALONE.

ATTEN. Sir John,

FAL. What! a young knave, and beg! Is there not wars? is there not employment? Doth not the king lack subjects? do not the rebels need soldiers? Though it be a shame to be on any side but one, it is worse shame to beg than to be on the worst side, were it worse than the name of rebellion can tell how to make it.

ATTEN. You mistake me, sir.

FAL. Why, sir, did I say you were an honest man? setting my knighthood and my soldiership aside, I had lied in my throat if I had said so. then set your knighthood and your soldiership aside; and give me leave to tell you, you lie in your throat, if you say I am any other than an honest man.

ATTEN. I pray you, sir

FAL. I give thee leave to tell me so! I lay aside that which grows to me! If thou get'st any leave of me, hang me; if thou takest leave, thou wert better be hanged: You hunt-counter, hence! avaunt!


[ocr errors]

hunt-counter,] That is, blunderer. He does not, I think, allude to any relation between the judge's servant and the counter-prison. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson's explanation may be countenanced by the following passage in Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub:

[ocr errors]

Do you mean to make a hare

"Of me, to hunt counter thus, and make these doubles, "And you mean no such thing as you send about?" Again, in Hamlet:

"O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs."

It should not, however, be concealed, that Randle Holme, in his Academy of Armory and Blazon,, Book III. ch. 3. says: "Hunt counter, when hounds hunt it by the heel." STEEVENS.

Hunt counter means, base tyke, or worthless dog. There can be no reason why Falstaff should call the attendant a blunderer, but he seems very anxious to prove him a rascal. After all, it

ATTEN. Sir, my lord would speak with you.
CH. JUST. Sir John Falstaff, a word with you.

FAL. My good lord!-God give your lordship good time of day. I am glad to see your lordship abroad: I heard say, your lordship was sick: I hope, your lordship goes abroad by advice. Your lordship, though not clean past your youth, hath yet some smack of age in you, some relish of the saltness of time; and I most humbly beseech your lordship, to have a reverend care of your health.

CH. JUST. Sir John, I sent for you expedition to Shrewsbury.

before your

FAL. An't please your lordship, I hear, his majesty is returned with some discomfort from Wales. CH. JUST. I talk not of his majesty :-You would not come when I sent for you.

FAL. And I hear moreover, his highness is fallen into this same whoreson apoplexy.

CH. JUST. Well, heaven mendhim! I pray, let me speak with


FAL. This apoplexy is, as I take it, a kind of lethargy, an't please your lordship; a kind of sleeping in the blood, a whoreson tingling.

CH. JUST. What tell you me of it? be it as it is. FAL. It hath its original from much grief; from

is not impossible the word may be found to signify a catchpole or bum-bailiff. He was probably the Judge's tipstaff. RITSON.

Perhaps the epithet hunt-counter is applied to the officer, in reference to his having reverted to Falstaff's salvo. HENLEY.

I think it much more probable that Falstaff means to allude to the counter-prison. Sir T. Overbury, in his character of A Serjeant's Yeoman, 1616, (in modern language, a bailiff's follower,) calls him " a counter-rat." MALONE.

study, and perturbation of the brain: I have read the cause of his effects in Galen; it is a kind of deafness.

CH. JUST. I think, you are fallen into the disease; for you hear not what I say to you.

FAL. Very well, my lord, very well :* rather, an't

4 Fal. Very well, my lord, very well:] In the quarto edition, printed in 1609, this speech stands thus:

Old. Very well, my lord, very well :

I had not observed this, when I wrote my note to The First Part of Henry IV. concerning the tradition of Falstaff's character having been first called Oldcastle. This almost amounts to a selfevident proof of the thing being so: and that, the play being printed from the stage manuscript, Oldcastle had been all along altered into Falstaff, except in this single place by an oversight; of which the printers not being aware, continued these initial traces of the original name. THEOBALD.

I am unconvinced by Mr. Theobald's remark. Old. might have been the beginning of some actor's name. Thus we have Kempe and Cowley, instead of Dogberry and Verges, in the 4to. edit. of Much Ado about Nothing, 1600.

Names utterly unconnected with the Persona Dramatis of Shakspeare, are sometimes introduced as entering on the stage. Thus, in The Second Part of King Henry IV. edit. 1600:"Enter th' Archbishop, Thomas Mowbray, (Earle Marshall,) the Lord Hastings, Fauconbridge, and Bardolfe." Sig. B 4.Again: "Enter the Prince, Poynes, Sir John Russell, with others.' Sig. C 3.-Again, in King Henry V. 1600: "Enter Burbon, Constable, Orleance, Gebon." Sig. D 2.

Old. might have been inserted by a mistake of the same kind; or indeed through the laziness of compositors, who occasionally permit the letters that form such names as frequently occur, to remain together, when the rest of the page is distributed. Thus it will sometimes happen that one name is substituted for another. This observation will be well understood by those who have been engaged in long attendance on a printing-house; and those to whom my remark appears obscure, need not to lament their ignorance, as this kind of knowledge is usually purchased at the expence of much time, patience, and disappointment.

In 1778, when the foregoing observations first appeared, they had been abundantly provoked. Justice, however, obliges me.

[blocks in formation]

please you, it is the disease of not listening, the malady of not marking, that I am troubled withal.

CH. JUST. To punish you by the heels, would amend the attention of your ears; and I care not, if I do become your physician.

FAL. I am as poor as Job, my lord; but not so patient: your lordship may minister the potion of imprisonment to me, in respect of poverty; but how I should be your patient to follow your prescriptions, the wise may make some dram of a scruple, or, indeed, a scruple itself.

CH. JUST. I sent for you, when there were matters against you for your life, to come speak with me.

to subjoin, that no part of the same censure can equitably fall on the printing-office or compositors engaged in our present republication. STEEVENS.

I entirely agree with Mr. Steevens in thinking that Mr. Theobald's remark is of no weight. Having already discussed the subject very fully, it is here only necessary to refer the reader to Vol. IX. p. 194, et seq. in which I think I have shewn that there is no proof whatsoever that Falstaff ever was called Oldcastle in these plays. The letters prefixed to this speech crept into the first quarto copy, I have no doubt, merely from Oldcastle being, behind the scenes, the familiar theatrical appellation of Falstaff, who was his stage-successor. All the actors, copyists, &c. were undoubtedly well acquainted with the former character, and probably used the two names indiscriminately.-Mr. Steevens's suggestion that Old. might have been the beginning of some actor's name does not appear to me probable; because in the list of "the names of the principal actors in all these plays" prefixed to the first folio, there is no actor whose name begins with this syllable; and we may be sure that the part of Falstaff was performed by a principal actor. MALONE.

Principal actors, as at present, might have been often changing from one play-house to another; and the names of such of them as had quitted the company of Hemings and Condell, might therefore have been purposely omitted, when the list prefixed to the folio 1623 was drawn up. STEEVENS.

« AnteriorContinuar »